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Distracted driving accident: Thousands killed, hurt annually

The invention of the cellphone and associated technology, including texting and handheld access to the Internet, have revolutionized the way people in Wisconsin and across the country live their lives. They have maps, advice, business information and access to emergency services at the touch of their finger. Unfortunately, more and more information is becoming available about the potential of being involved in a distracted driving accident when using such a device.

Officials are working hard to help educate all drivers about the potential consequences of cellphone use while driving. Some reports indicate that sending a text requires a driver to take his or her eyes off the road for an average of five seconds. In this amount of time, a car traveling at 55 mph could cross the length of a football field.

Because sending a text message requires a variety of different processes, it is an alarming distraction. However, it is not the only distraction that drivers -- especially teenage drivers, who have the highest proportion of distracted driving car accidents -- face. Other distractions come from changing the radio station, programming a navigation system, interacting with passengers, talking on the phone and grooming, among other activities.

While there was a decrease in the number of distracted driving-related fatalities in 2013 when compared to the number in 2012, the number of people injured was higher. While states are passing laws making it illegal to perform certain activities while driving, people in Wisconsin still face the very real possibility of being hurt or killed in a distracted driving accident. While many people struggle to cope with the loss of a loved one or their own personal injuries, they are sometimes left facing a precarious financial future. In cases where negligence can be proved in a civil court, many victims receive an award of damages that helps them overcome such expenses.

Source: distraction.gov, "Facts And Statistics", Accessed on Jan. 17, 2016

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