In Sioux Falls and throughout South Dakota, distracted driving is a worsening problem. When out on the road, drivers need only glance left and right and they are likely to see a driver who is looking down at a handheld device or using onboard technology. These are the most common ways in which people are believed to be distracted, but there are many others. These include interacting with passengers, changing the radio, eating, drinking and grooming.
Any form of distraction that diverts a driver’s eyes from the road puts them, their passengers and others on the road in jeopardy.
While telling drivers not to do it and citing them for violating this fundamental rule of safety might reduce its frequency, the reality is that drivers may be unable to change their behaviors and completely stop driving while distracted. Knowing the facts about how often this occurs and the number of accidents it causes can be useful for safety and in knowing what to do after an accident has happened.
What do the statistics say about distracted driving accidents?
Researchers have finalized data from 2020 and are still analyzing the distracted driving numbers for 2021 and the first half of 2022. With this information, entities like The Zebra are analyzing these crashes. It found that in 2020, more than 8% of fatal accidents were connected to distracted driving. Around 20% of accidents with injuries were believed to have been related to distracted drivers.
The cellphone is a primary catalyst for distraction as drivers are distracted around 10% of their time behind the wheel due to the phone.
The Zebra conducted a survey early last year to gauge driver behaviors and came to some startling conclusions. It found that more than half of those who took part admitted to being distracted by eating when driving. This might not get the coverage that cellphone use does, but it can still lead to danger. More than 23% stated they texted while driving; nearly 12% took photos; and 6.5% drove while putting on makeup.
Drivers are keenly aware of the possibility that they are placing themselves and others at risk by driving while distracted, but they continue to do it. More than 36% said they believed using a device negatively impacted their driving. Around the same number admitted to doing it.
Ironically, South Dakota is one of the better states for drivers paying attention to the road. The state came in ninth for the fewest fatalities linked to distracted driving.
When there is an accident, knowing if it was due to distraction is imperative
Distracted driving is a common concern across the nation. When a driver is not paying attention to the road, it could happen for myriad reasons. The handheld device is an irresistible temptation for some and just because they are using it when they are behind the wheel does not imply they are doing so with bad intent. However, given the prevalence of these types of accidents and the aftermath of catastrophic injuries and death, those who were hurt or lost a loved one must keep their options open.
Having assistance from professionals who are deeply embedded in the Sioux Falls and surrounding areas and are well-known for their active role in the community can be helpful in determining what steps to take after an auto accident. If it was due to distracted driving, accruing evidence as to the circumstances can be key.
Insurance companies are notorious for trying to minimize their payouts. Immediately after the accident has happened, it is useful to consult with an attorney who knows the terrain and can move forward with a case. Calling for comprehensive and caring legal help should be done as soon as possible.