Preventing distracted driving in April and beyond

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and Illinois residents might want to know what is currently being done to combat this deadly behavior. According to The Risk Institute, the answer is that not much is happening to stop distracted driving.

A part of The Ohio State University, The Risk Institute has decided to learn more about distracted driving and champion prevention efforts. The group started a nationwide effort to address the problem and is partnering with government groups, researchers and companies.

Distracted driving is preventable, and one important component in reducing this behavior is first learning why people engage in using technology like cell phones and in-car touchscreens while operating a vehicle. One study indicated that those who feel more confident about their abilities are the ones who exhibit risky behaviors while driving.

Cities and states could also take action to reduce car accidents caused by distracted driving when designing and building roads. Researchers looking at data from more than 1.4 million crashes that occurred in a four-year period found that road environment and layout mattered. The length of a stretch of roadway and the number of lanes were linked to more accidents while roads with paved asphalt shoulders and medians saw fewer accidents.

Additionally, rural areas reported fewer crashes than urban areas. Roundabouts worked as effective safety measures when reducing the severity of all crashes and distracted driving crashes.

Distracted driving is one type of potentially negligent behavior that could make someone responsible for damages when people are injured in a car crash. Cell phone records, witness statements or video footage could be used to show that the party responsible for a wreck was on a phone when the event occurred. A civil claim might allow a plaintiff to recover expenses for medical bills and time off from work.

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