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The problem of distracted driving in Michigan

Michigan is no stranger to the problem of distracted driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that, nationally, in 2014, 3,179 individuals were killed and 431,000 victims were injured in car accidents involving distracted drivers. In Michigan during 2015, there were 7,516 car accidents involving distracted driving, which resulted in 28 fatalities and 3,472 injuries. Cell phones were involved in 753 car accidents, resulting in three fatalities and 377 injuries.

There are three main categories of distracted driving: manual, visual and cognitive. Texting while driving is considered the most dangerous form of distracted driving because it combines all three types of distracted driving into one dangerous activity. According to research, a driver's brain remains distracted for 27 seconds after they have sent a text using voice commands, dialed a phone, or changed the music. Additional distracted driving behaviors include using a navigation system or operating a radio; attending to children or talking to passengers; eating and drinking; grooming; and reading.

Too many drivers report driving distracted. In Michigan, drivers are prohibited from reading, manually typing, or sending text messages while driving. There are penalties associated with texting while driving, but these laws don't appear to have as much teeth as hoped. Negligent drivers may face liability, though, when they cause an injurious or fatal accident. If liability is imposed, then these drivers can be forced to pay compensation to injured victims and their families. Suing distracted drivers is not always easy, however, as these indivdiuals will often aggressively fight back in hopes of avoiding any accountability.

A personal injury or wrongful death claim for damages allows victims and their families to seek help with the aftermath of an unexpected distracted driving accident. Victims should be familiar with the legal resources available to help them when a careless and distracted driver has harmed them. An experienced personal injury attorney may be able to help these individuals and families craft compelling legal arguments that leave them well-positioned to recover the damages they deserve.

Source: Michigan.gov, "Distracted Driving Fact Sheet," Accessed Sept. 3, 2017

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