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Underreported distracted driving stats

Are you aware that we are more than halfway through National Distracted Driving Awareness Month? If not, you're not alone. Smart phones are extensions of our lives, tools that are part of daily life to the point we sometimes don't notice them. They're also killers on the road, hence the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's "U Drive. U Text. U Pay" ad campaign.

Roughly one-quarter of all accidents involve a distracted driver using a cell phone. Use includes texting, talking, setting GPS instructions and even browsing social media and the web. Last year, 3,450 people were killed by distracted drivers.

How common is phone use?

While those numbers from the NHTSA are startling, they may also underestimate just how dangerous phone distractions are for drivers. Analytic company Zendrive paints a much darker picture.

The company analyses data to measure how people really use their phones. According to Zendrive, 69 million drivers use their phone every day behind the wheel, 60 percent of drivers use their phone at least once per day, and 40 percent will use their phone once per hour. Georgia ranked 18th of out of 51 jurisdictions (50 states and Washington, DC) overall, which is in the safest third of states. Among large cities, Atlanta is the 10th safest.

U Drive. U Text. U Pay.

Anytime you see statistics this high it's alarming. What makes cellphone-related distracted driving so worrying is that it's completely avoidable. A phone is unnecessary to the act of driving. You can set up navigation before pulling into traffic, or pull over to the side of the road to make an important call.

When you get your driver's license, you're agreeing to share the roads and behave in a safe, responsible manner. If you violate these terms, you're liable for the results. Anyone injured in a car accident with a distracted driver deserves compensation for the negligent behavior by the other driver. Costs go well beyond auto repair and medical expenses. A life-altering or serious injury might require wholesale changes to your daily life and relationships. If you've been in an accident with a distracted driver, contact an attorney as soon as possible to review your case.

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