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The perils of distracted driving

According to a guide from the Federal Communications Commission, cellphones can present great risks to the public when people use them while driving. According to various studies and statistics, there is an unequivocal relationship between distracted driving and traffic accidents that cause injuries and even fatalities. On account of these documented risks, lawmakers in states such as Connecticut have enacted bans on certain types of cellphone use while driving.

Research from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute indicates that the risk of a crash is 23 times higher for drivers who actively text than for undistracted drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving caused 18 percent of the country's car accidents in 2010. Altogether, crashes attributed to distracted driving killed 3,092 people and injured 416,000 people that year.

Among drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 who experienced collisions, 11 percent reportedly admitted to sending or receiving text messages at the time of the incident. In a Pew survey, 40 percent of teens admitted to being in a vehicle whose driver put them and others in danger by using a cellphone.

Despite these alarming statistics, there is no nationwide prohibition on cellphone use while driving. However, several individual states have implemented their own laws banning certain types of cellphone use while behind the wheel. Connecticut is one of those states.

Connecticut drivers who use a cellphone behind the wheel may face not only criminal prosecution but also civil action in the event that they are involved in an accident. When people are injured in car accidents demonstrably attributed to distracted driving, they may retain a personal injury lawyer and file a suit against the at-fault driver, seeking financial compensation for the damages they suffered.

Source: fcc.gov, "The Dangers of Texting While Driving", September 12, 2014

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