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Distracted driving can cause fatal car accidents

Most car drivers clearly understand that using cell phones and smartphones when behind the wheel is dangerous. The distractions they cause can result in car accidents that can have devastating consequences.

In little more than a decade, cell phones and other electronic devices have become major contributors to traffic fatalities in the United States. According to the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,331 highways deaths involved distracted driving in 2011. An estimated 387,000 more people were injured.

An AAA survey of almost 4,000 licensed drivers found that most believe that cell phone usage has become a threat to traffic safety in just the last three years. Yet these drivers themselves still used their cell phones while behind the wheel. Clearly, knowing something and living by that knowledge every day is difficult.

Distracted driving is an enormous problem that needs to be addressed effectively. A large number of car accidents occur in Connecticut, for example, because of distracted driving, which includes driving while sleepy or not fully attentive to the road. Such inattentive driving may lead to other dangerous acts that in themselves can prove fatal, such as speeding and following too closely behind other vehicles.

Speed kills, as the old saying goes. Speeding is always a risk whether or not it is the result of distracted driving or just a heavy foot on the gas pedal. Even without killing anyone, it can seriously injure people and cause permanent disability.

Car drivers who cause accidents through negligent acts such as distracted driving and speeding may be required by Connecticut state law to pay for their victims' injuries and suffering and sometimes to compensate families for the loss of a loved one. Victims can file personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits seeking compensation for medical expenses, disability and loss of pay. They can also claim compensation for mental agony, pain and suffering and funeral expenses, if necessary.

Source: Mother Nature Network, "Why cellphone-using drivers won't quit texting while driving," Feb. 4, 2013

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