In 2009, the average car insurance premium was $787, which was a marked decrease from the 2004 average of $843. In 2010, however, insurance rates began to rise, and each year since, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has reported an increase in auto insurance rates. This increase is attributable to an increase in accidents due to distracted driving.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is defined as any activity that takes a driver’s attention off the task of driving. This includes:
- Cognitive distractions, which take a driver’s mind off of the task of driving. This includes arguing with a passenger or focusing on a problem at work.
- Manual distractions, where the driver takes their hands off the wheel. This includes changing the radio station or reaching for a dropped cell phone.
- Visual distractions, where the driver takes their eyes off the road. This includes searching for the location of a dropped cell phone or turning to a passenger in the back seat to make eye contact.
Often times, distracted driving involves a combination of cognitive, manual, and visual distractions. For example, when responding to a text, the driver first reads a text (visual), then thinks about a response (cognitive), and finally taps out a response or uses the record feature to craft a response (manual). This combination of distractions significantly reduces one’s ability to pay attention to the road, other vehicles, the speed of traffic, and other factors associated with safely operating a motor vehicle.
Distracted Driving Causes Injury and Death
Distracted driving is responsible for 10% of all fatal car crashes in the United States. Annually, over 3,500 fatalities are attributable to distracted driving, and another 400,000 people are injured, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The American Automobile Association (AAA), in a groundbreaking study, installed in-vehicle event recorders in cars of teen drivers, and reviewed the data after crashes. They found an astonishing 58% of all moderate-to-severe accidents involving teen drivers were a result of distracted driving. Additionally, distraction was a factor in 89% of all road departure crashes, and 76% of all rear end crashes. These statistics are significantly higher than previous estimates.
If You or a Loved One Has Been Injured
Distracted driving is almost entirely avoidable. If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to financial compensation for lost wages, as well as pain and suffering. At Miller Kory Rowe, our auto accident lawyers hold distracted drivers accountable for their choices. Don’t wait until it is too late. Contact our office today at (602) 648-4045 to discuss the specifics of your accident.