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Top causes of fatalities in distracted driving accidents

In an effort to prevent wrongful death and better understand the causes of fatal car accidents in Wisconsin and throughout the nation, Erie Insurance studied police data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. The insurance company also worked with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety when analyzing the data. The information gathered on automobile accidents came from police reports that listed an officers' judgement of the cause of the crash.

Compiling statistics of fatal car accidents based on the impression of a police officer may be more accurate than asking those involved in the accident because they are less likely to be completely forthcoming about the crash. One of the more alarming statistics gathered by the insurance company was the fact that one in 10 fatal crashes that occurred in the United States last year were due to distracted driving. Of those crashes where distracted driving was determined to be the cause, 62 percent were due to a driver being "generally distracted," or lost in thought.

Other common causes of distracted driving accidents that ended in death included eating or drinking, smoking and using a cell phone. One of the goals of the study was to make drivers more mindful of their actions on the road, and the researchers suggest that people avoid distractions that take their eyes off the road or their mind off of driving.

If someone has a family member that has been in a fatal car accident, they may have legal recourse against the driver who caused the accident. Those affected may want to speak with an attorney to find out what options are available to them. A personal injury attorney may be able to assist in seeking compensation for damages.

Source: Insurance Journal, "Insurer Analyzes Top 10 Driving Distractions Involved in Fatal Car Crashes," April 4, 2013

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