The Games of the XXX Olympiad came to a dramatic end this past Sunday, signaled by all the pomp and circumstance on the closing ceremonies in London. While these Games will be remembered by many people for the tremendous displays of athleticism and the record-breaking achievements of our American athletes, many viewers will also remember some of the persistent advertising. The most poignant of these commercials were a series of a public service announcements warning of the dangers of distracted driving. In particular, many will remember the one featuring a young woman whose sister crashed her car because she was reading a short and simple text message: “yeah.”
Maryland personal injury attorneys surely took notice of these ads, seeing as they are well-accustomed to handling cases in which their clients were injured by similarly distracted drivers. Attorneys know that the distracted drivers themselves are rarely the only ones injured by their inattentiveness. Distracted drivers pose just as much danger to the innocent motorists who happen to be unlucky enough to be sharing the road with them.
The statistics are as sobering as the public service announcements. According to a November 2011 survey from HealthDay, more than 86 percent of drivers reported eating or drinking (non-alcoholic beverages) while driving. More than half of those people reported doing it regularly. Thirty-seven percent of those surveyed reported that they have texted while driving, with eighteen percent admitted to doing it regularly. Other common driving distractions reported by those surveyed included styling hair, doing makeup, reading maps, adjusting GPS navigation devices, surfing the internet on a smart phone.
Texting in particular is a huge problem because there is rarely a substitute for the use of the “spare” hand and the quick glances away from the road. Bluetooth technology has made hands-free calling more widespread, but texting continues to be a deadly practice, especially among women and young people (aged 16-24). Studies show that a texting driver spends an average of ten percent of his or her driving time outside the boundaries of their traffic lane. Their reaction time is reduced to that of a seventy-year-old. The average glance away from the road lasts almost five seconds – enough time to travel the length of a football field.
Suffice to say, distracted driving is becoming an epidemic. Although there is no reliable data, many suggest that well over half of all traffic accidents are caused by some form of distracted driving. It seems that nothing can prevent the injuries sustained by innocent motorists at the hands of the distracted drivers. However, innocent motorists can take solace in the fact that an expert Maryland auto accident lawyer can protect your legal rights if you are unlucky enough to be a victim. Maryland accident attorneys routinely win huge monetary settlements and jury verdicts against defendant drivers’ insurance companies. If you have been injured in an auto accident caused by someone else’s distracted driving, make sure you are able to win the compensation you deserve so that you can focus on your recovery.
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