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Cellphone use and car accidents

Motorists in Arizona are exposed to the same risks of distracted driving as everywhere else in the country. Research shows that people frequently text, talk and email with their cellphones when behind the wheel, and this distraction is a significant cause of car accidents.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers texting while driving to be especially hazardous. This activity removes drivers' attention from the road more than other distractions because of the focus required to read and type text messages. A 2011 survey by the CDC revealed the prevalence of this form of distraction. Among U.S. drivers ages 18 to 64, 31 percent reported driving and texting or emailing within the past 30 days. Younger people were the drivers most at risk for this behavior. Fatal crashes involving drivers under age 20 are often attributed to distracted driving.

Information published by the U.S. Department of Transportation further illustrates how younger drivers are a high risk group for distracted driving. Among car accidents known to result from distracted drivers, 16 percent of them involved drivers under 20. Regardless of age, the agency estimates that 660,000 vehicles are driven by someone using a cellphone at any given moment.

When a person is seriously injured in a car accident, they might want to know if the accident report indicates distracted driving as a cause of the crash. Because distracted driving has been documented as a risky behavior, it could be considered evidence of a negligent driver. When that happens, the injured person might be able to file a personal injury claim. An attorney might be helpful in determining a lawsuit's potential for recovering damages for medical bills and pain and suffering.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Distracted Driving," Accessed Feb. 11, 2015

Source: Distraction.gov, "Distracted Driving: FAQ," Accessed Feb. 11, 2015

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