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Bob Carroll
Bob Carroll
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Multitasking Drivers Are Multicrashing On Our Highways

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A new study by the government has confirmed what all of us have expected for some time. Study: Distraction Behind Most Car Crashes Cell phone use while driving a car is a major cause of accidents. Ditto any other activities that take a driver’s attention from the roadway ahead.

My clients have been injured by multitasking drivers in over half of my automobile collision cases for the last several years. I can even add a few more distracting activities to the ones uncovered in the study: eating a hamburger, attending to a child in the back seat, reading a map, and getting sunglasses from the glove compartment. I suspect daydreaming is also involved in crashes, but it is hard to detect.

Those sleep-deprived, multitasking drivers _ clutching cell phones, fiddling with their radios or applying lipstick _ apparently are involved in an awful lot of crashes.

Distracted drivers were involved in nearly eight out of 10 collisions or near-crashes, says a study released Thursday by the government.

Researchers reviewed thousands of hours of video and data from sensor monitors linked to more than 200 drivers, and pinpointed examples of what keeps drivers from paying close attention to the road.

“We see people on the roadways talking on the phone, checking their stocks, checking scores, fussing with their MP3 players, reading e-mails, all while driving 40, 50, 60, 70 miles per hour and sometimes even faster,” said Jacqueline Glassman, acting administrator of the government’s highway safety agency.

A driver’s reaching for a moving object increased the risk of a crash or potential collision by nine times, according to researchers at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

They found that the risk of a crash increases almost threefold when a driver is dialing a cell phone.