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Distracted driving causes increase in accidents involving pedestrians, bicycles

On behalf of Steven Cooper at Cooper Law Firm

Legislators and safety experts alike acknowledge that distracted driving is a serious threat to safety on our nation's highways. Indeed, no matter the cause of distraction, be it cell phones, other electronic devices or even passengers or pets, anything that causes a driver to pay less attention to the road can contribute to the occurrence of a car accident. And while the connection between driver distraction and accidents between cars is clear, research indicates that the increase in distracted drivers in recent years has also contributed to the incidence of accidents involving pedestrians and bicycles.

Researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center examined statistics for fatal car accidents in the U.S. from 2005 to 2010. Although the number of fatal car accidents declined nationwide during that period, they discovered that the number of accidents in which pedestrians or bicyclists were killed by distracted drivers increased by approximately 50 percent.

In 2005, there were a total of 344 reported pedestrians deaths in the U.S. attributed to distracted driving. By 2010, that number had risen to 500. The number of bicyclists killed in distracted driving accidents saw a similar increase: in 2005, a total of 56 bicyclists were killed, compared to 73 in 2010. What is worse, about half of these reported deaths occurred during daylight hours, when visibility was not an issue.

Researchers used data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System in their study. They found that white men between 25 and 64 years of age were the primary culprits in distracted driving related pedestrian and bicycle accidents.

The authors of the study hope that their efforts educate the public and policymakers regarding the true dangers of distracted driving. Although many people are familiar with the hazards this behavior poses to other drivers, it can be easy to miss the effects of distraction on pedestrians and bicyclists. Hopefully, studies such as these encourage drivers to put down their cell phones and concentrate on the act of driving.

If you or someone in your family has suffered a serious injury in an automobile accident caused by a distracted driver, speak to an experienced personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney can learn more about your case and explain your legal options. Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to monetary damages to cover medical bills and other expenses. To learn more, talk to an attorney today.