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Distracted driving is an avoidable risk

Accidents involving distracted drivers claimed 3,166 lives around the country in 2017 according to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, many road safety groups think that distraction is under-reported and the true death toll is actually much higher. This kind of crash is often blamed on mobile electronic devices, but Minnesota drivers can be distracted by far more than their cellphones.

Simply holding a conversation with passengers can be extremely distracting for drivers. Road safety experts say drivers should put their cellphones into silent mode and keep interaction with other vehicle occupants to a minimum. One way passengers can be put to good use is enlisting their help to operate navigation systems or change audio settings. Eating or drinking behind the wheel can also be extremely dangerous, and motorists should plan their journeys to allow time for eating either before they set off or after they have reached their destinations.

Motorists who wish to avoid an accident should never get behind the wheel when they are drowsy. Studies have found that going without sleep for just one night leaves motorists as impaired as a driver who is legally drunk. Distracted and drowsy driving is especially dangerous because fatigued or distracted drivers drivers rarely take evasive action and a car traveling at highway speeds covers about 20 yards every second.

Unlike alcohol consumption or drug use, distraction provides law enforcement with no lingering clues. This means that police reports may not always reveal that a driver was not paying attention when involved in a car accident. In these situations, experienced personal injury attorneys may use subpoenas to obtain a suspected distracted driver's cellphone records. Attorneys could also seek to have their cars inspected to obtain electronic data that may reveal whether or not the brakes were applied.

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