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Cellphone use while driving is a widespread problem

Tennessee residents may not be aware of the dangers associated with using a cellphone while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. According to various studies and statistics compiled by the Federal Communications Commission, there is a troubling correlation between distracted driving and auto accidents that result in catastrophic and fatal injuries. Partly because of these documented risks, lawmakers in several states have enacted laws prohibiting texting and other types of cellphone use while driving.

Researchers from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that, compared to undistracted drivers, people who text while driving are 23 times more likely to experience a crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that, in 2010, distracted drivers caused 18 percent of the nation's car accidents. Altogether, distracted driving was responsible for killing 3,092 people and injuring 416,000 people that year, reportedly.

By their own admission, more than 10 percent of drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 who survived accidents were texting at the time of the incident. According to a Pew survey, 40 percent of teens stated that they had been in a vehicle with a driver who used a cellphone in a perilous manner.

There are no federal laws specifically banning the use of a cellphone while driving. Yet, many individual states have passed laws prohibiting certain types of cellphone use while behind the wheel, and some states have even implemented laws banning cellphone use altogether while operating a motor vehicle.

Tennessee motorists accused of concurrently texting and driving might face criminal penalties if convicted. However, in the event that this sort of distracted driving contributes to an accident causing injuries or fatalities, the victims of the accident may be entitled to financial compensation via civil action, and the at-fault driver may be held liable.

Source: fcc.gov , "The Dangers of Texting While Driving", September 12, 2014

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