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Understanding the harmful nature of distracted driving

Distracted driving is a serious concern for communities. The number of victims killed and injured in distracted driving-related car accidents has increased in recent years. In 2013, greater than 3,000 victims were killed throughout the United States in distracted-driver related car accidents. The number of victims killed in distracted-driver related car accidents in 2013 was a 6.7 percent increase from the number of fatalities in 2012.

Greater than 400,000 victims were in injured in distracted-driving related car accidents during 2012 and 2013. The number of victims injured in distracted-driving related car accidents increased by approximately 3,000 victims from 2012 to 2013. Distracted driving includes a number of different activities drivers may engage in while driving such as using a cell phone while driving; texting while driving; reading while driving; adjusting various electronics while driving; engaging with passengers while driving; eating and drinking while driving; or grooming while driving.

Distracted driving essentially includes any activity that removes the driver's attention and focus from the roadway. Texting while driving, however, is considered a particularly dangerous form of distracted driving because it involves all three types of distraction including manual, cognitive and visual. When a driver engages in distracted driving activities, especially those involving cell phones, the risk of a car accident increases by three times. In New Mexico, texting while driving is illegal.

Victims of a distracted-driving related car accident may suffer a variety of damages depending on the circumstances, the nature of their injuries and the nature of the harm they have suffered. To protect victims of distracted driving-related car accidents, distracted drivers may be liable to compensate victims for the damages and harm their negligence has caused. Because of the serious nature of the issue, victims of distracted driving-related car accidents should be aware of the resources and remedies available to them when harmed by a distracted driver.

Source: Distraction.gov, "Facts and Statistics," Accessed Jan. 13, 2016

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