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Distracted driving to blame for increase in car accident death statistics

As we head into the holiday season of the year when families do a lot of traveling on the highways, it's important to focus on safety behind the wheel. During the first half of 2016, approximately 18,000 people died on American roadways. This is a massive increase of over 10 percent compared to the first half of 2015, and last year saw similar increases over 2014. Why are fatalities increasing like this?

Although the increase in roadway deaths can partly be blamed on the fact that gas prices declined and more drivers can afford to spend more time on the road, probably the most troubling problem is distracted driving. These days, Americans are doing far more talking, texting and engaging with complicated electronic entertainment systems and gadgets inside their vehicles than they ever did before. This is causing drivers to ignore the road in front of them, and they are getting into more accidents than ever.

Distracted driving causes 9 percent of traffic deaths

Some statistics blame distracted driving for a full 9 percent of auto collision deaths. That means that nearly one out of 10 people who die in crashes were killed because a motorist failed to fulfill his or her most important duties as a driver - to pay attention to the road and watch out for other drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, skateboarders and pedestrians.

Anti-cellphone laws are difficult to enforce

Although the state of Florida has laws in place preventing texting while driving, it is easy to see while driving that numerous drivers have their faces buried in their electronic devices. These laws are very difficult for police to enforce in terms of law enforcement taking preventative measures to ticket these unlawful texters before they get into a crash. What happens all too often is drivers do not get caught until after they cause a horrible accident.

Texting while driving is more dangerous than driving while impaired

Because of the way "texters" and social media enthusiasts take their eyes off the road for sometimes four, five or more seconds at a time - and because drivers usually only have a fraction of a second to react and avoid a potential crash - many experts say that using a smartphone while driving is actually more dangerous than drunk driving.

What can we do?

Until law enforcement officers develop new ways to combat distracted driving, Florida residents will have to face the increasingly dangerous reality of being a modern driver. However, we do not have to face this reality lying down. Florida residents who are injured because of distracted motorists will have every right to hold irresponsible and negligent drivers financially liable by filing a personal injury claim in civil court.

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