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Distractions on the road

For Tennessee drivers, distractions on the road can lead to serious consequences. Activities that cause drivers to become distracted fall into three non-discrete categories: manual, visual and cognitive. Manually distracting activities include smoking, eating and drinking. Examples of visual distractions include making phone calls and using other technology. Cognitive distractions can be as simple as engaging in conversations with passengers to driving under the influence. Cellphone use, including texting, involves all three types of distractions, which makes it particularly dangerous.

A 2011 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study of the U.S. and seven European countries compared percentages of use of cellphones for calls, emails and texting while driving. Data analysis revealed that of U.S. drivers ages 18 to 64, an estimated 69 percent reported driving while talking on their cellphone, and 31 percent reported texting while driving during the 30 days previous to the survey. This number was more than their European counterparts.

Texting takes the driver's attention away from the road longer than other distractions. A key finding of the CDC study is that of all U.S. high school students ages 16 or older, almost half reported texting or emailing while driving.

When things go wrong on the road and an accident involving a distracted driver results in death or serious bodily injury, consulting a lawyer could be of help. Gathering the facts, interviewing witnesses and consulting and advising the family about possible sources of financial assistance are a few of the ways a personal injury lawyer may be able to help.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Distracted Driving,"Accessed on Jan. 24, 2015

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