Traffic crashes killed more people in the United States in 2021 than in any year since 2005, and the leading cause of those accidents was distracted driving.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated 42,915 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes last year. That’s a 10.5 percent increase from the 38,824 fatalities in 2020, and it’s almost 43,000 families who lost someone they love.
The grim truth is that these accidents are often preventable.
Distracted driving is the No. 1 cause of car accidents in the United States. Clearly, reducing distractions on the roadways will save lives.
There are three types of distracted driving.
- Visual: taking your eyes off the road
- Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive: taking your mind off driving
Common examples of visually distracted driving include reading or writing texts, checking email, using GPS or navigation tools, and adjusting music. Manual distracted driving includes eating, picking up dropped items, and reaching into the back seat. Let’s say you have a child in a car seat you haven’t seen all day. You might look in the rear-view mirror to see your child and communicate with them. In this example, you are distracted both visually and cognitively.
Once an accident occurs, the worst scenario other than death is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). According to the CDC, there were approximately 223,135 TBI-related hospitalizations in 2019. What were the causes of these injuries? Unintentional vehicle crashes are No. 1 among those aged 15-54, with accidental falls rising as people age.
Accidents causing TBI often have long-lasting effects on the injured party. Someone who has experienced moderate to severe TBI may not be able to care for themselves. They could have trouble with common daily tasks such as placing an order at a restaurant, remembering how to do simple tasks, or even recognizing family and friends. Physically, the deficits can range from difficulty walking, talking, or swallowing. Sometimes, people become paralyzed by brain injury.
Distracted driving not only affects drivers and passengers, but innocent bystanders are often injured or killed because of visually distracted drivers. About one in five of those people were walking, riding their bicycle, or otherwise outside a vehicle when injured.
If you’ve been hurt in any type of accident, please call and ask for an attorney or paralegal at Hornsby, Watson, Hornsby & Heyward. We do not charge a fee for consultations. We also do not charge a fee unless you recover damages from your case. First, we want you to get the medical treatment you need. Getting well should be your first priority. While you are recovering, we will help you navigate insurance companies, bills, lost wages, and other stressors caused by your injury.