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Ten Things Thursday: Distracted Driving

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Distracted drivingThere are a lot of common factors that can lead to auto accidents, such as driving while intoxicated, distracted driving, drowsy driving, mechanical failure in the vehicle, and the list goes on.

Each Thursday for the next few weeks, I will be exploring these major causes of accidents, and the trends associated with them. It will be a retrospective of this blog’s content over the course of 2011’s first half. Let’s begin this series with distracted driving.

Here are some of the disturbing numbers associated with distracted driving, brought to us by, a website produced by the U.S. Dept. of Transportation:

  • 20 percent of injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving. (NHTSA)
  • Of those killed in distracted-driving-related crashed, 995 involved reports of a cell phone as a distraction (18% of fatalities in distraction-related crashes). (NHTSA)
  • In 2009, 5,474 people were killed in U.S. roadways and an estimated additional 448,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes that were reported to have involved distracted driving. (FARS and GES)
  • The age group with the greatest proportion of distracted drivers was the under-20 age group — 16 percent of all drivers younger than 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted while driving. (NHTSA)
  • Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
  • Using a cell phone use while driving, whether it’s hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (Source: University of Utah)

Here are ten posts on distracted driving from this blog in 2011:

The latest news on this front to have crossed my desk is a new study unearthed by Steve Lohr, a reporter for The New York Times:

In a paper presented on Monday at a research conference in Vancouver, Eric Horvitz, a scientist at Microsoft Research, and three collaborators provide evidence that a properly designed computer assistant could do a lot to reduce distracted-driving accidents. Bring some artificial intelligence to the car, they suggest, and the safety payoff could be well worth it.

The paper, ‘Hang on a Sec! Effects of Proactive Mediation of Phone Conversations while Driving‘ [PDF], lays out the results of research done with people conversing on a hands-free phone while at the wheel of a driving simulator.

Sounds almost like something out of The Jetsons, but certainly worth keeping tabs on. I’ll be on the lookout for more news on the subject.

While we hope you would give us a call if you are find yourself in an accident, we we also try to keep you informed so that you have better chances of avoiding one. Next week’s Ten Things Thursday will look at intoxicated driving.

Image by Mike “Dakinewavamon” Kline, used under its Creative Commons license.



My daughter and I first consulted with Dan Rosen after a very serious auto accident. Dan had several phone conferences with me, and Tracie was available whenever I called. We would recommend personal injury attorney Dan Rosen to anyone!
Sally from Denver, Colorado

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