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Just how dangerous is distracted driving?

We all love the convenience of modern technology. While behind the wheel though, that new gadget could lead to a serious crash. Safety officials are sounding the alarm on distracted driving.

For those of us on the road every day – whether commuting to and from work, running errands, or simply heading out for some fun – the figures are troubling.

In 2014 there were more than 53,500 crashes in Kentucky, leading to more than 14,000 injuries and 169 deaths as a result of distracted driving, according to the state’s Office of Highway Safety. 

What counts as distracted driving?

Cellphones are the most high-profile culprit, and each state has different laws about their use while behind the wheel. In Kentucky, it is illegal for a driver to read, write or send messages (including texts and emails) while the car is in motion. If you are 18 or older, you can talk on a cellphone while driving. The law also allows for GPS use.

A phone is not the only source of distraction however. Drivers can also become inattentive to the road when:

  • Talking to other people in the car
  • Reaching for something
  • Eating or drinking
  • Smoking
  • Doing their hair or makeup
  • Changing the radio station or skipping tracks
  • Dealing with children
  • Wrangling loose pets
  • Anything else that takes attention away from actually driving

The CDC says distracted driving can increase the chance of a motor vehicle crash.

Distracted driving may be negligent

If you or a loved one was involved in a car crash and the other driver was distracted, it is possible their behavior was negligent. There might be long-term health consequences and costs to consider. An attorney can help determine the best course of action by going through what you saw, what witnesses remember and potentially what phone data suggests.

Even the smallest distraction can put everyone on the road at risk, and the problem is not going away. It is important to remember that text message, email or photo post can wait until you are no longer behind the wheel.

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