Why Distracted Drivers are a Growing Danger on Tennessee's Roads

Accidents caused by distracted driving are increasing in the state

Distracted driving is wrecking havoc on Tennessee’s roads and highways, with a record-high number of such crashes recorded in the state last year, according to WJHL News. Officials say distractions led to tens of thousands of car accidents in Tennessee in 2014 along with dozens of deaths. Experts say the danger is especially pronounced among young and inexperienced drivers. A new study, for example, says that distracted driving plays a much greater role in accidents involving young drivers than was previously thought.

Distracted driving crashes

The Tennessee Highway Patrol recently released figures showing the danger distracted driving poses to motorists in the state. Last year saw a record number of crashes caused by distracted driving, with approximately 21,000. Those crashes ended up costing the lives of 48 people.

Police say that the problem is severe, with distracted drivers often resembling drunk drivers in how they behave on the road. Distracted drivers, as with drunk drivers, are more likely to swerve, cross the center line, or maintain inconsistent speeds. One of the biggest problems with distracted drivers is a matter of perception: although many people agree that distracted driving is dangerous, they often think of themselves as being immune from such dangers. As one police officer points out, however, in just the two seconds it takes to glance at a text message, a motorist can drive 200 feet without looking at the road.

Young drivers at greatest risk

The risk of distracted driving appears to be greatest among young and inexperienced drivers. As the Washington Post recently reported, a recent study utilizing in-car video recordings found that distractions played a part in 58 percent of accidents involving teen drivers-a much higher figure than had previously been estimated.

The video and audio data, which was analyzed by the AAA, found that fellow passengers were the greatest distraction for young drivers, contributing to 15 percent of accidents. Cellphone use, however, came in a close second, being a factor in about 12 percent of accidents. Experts say that the findings show that graduated licensing programs should be more widely utilized to prevent young drivers from carrying too many passengers and from talking or texting on a cellphone.

Personal injury claims

With the number of accidents caused by distracted driving increasing, claims related to distracted driving are also likely to rise. Anybody who has been involved in a collision with a motorist who may have been distracted should talk to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. A person who has been the victim of a potentially distracted and at-fault driver may be entitled to additional compensation that can help cover damages and medical expenses following an accident.