The federal government has determined that distracted driving causes about 16 percent of the deadly accidents in the United States during a given year. That means that around 5,000 people are killed as a result, either when they are hit by distracted drivers or when they cause the wreck because they're not looking at the road.
One of the biggest reasons that distracted driving remains an issue, despite these stats, is that drivers sometimes feel like a quick distraction isn't a big deal. The phone buzzes, they pick it up and try to quickly scan the text message. They assume they can do that for two or three seconds without driving off of the road or over the center line.
However, some researchers have suggested that the distraction "latency" makes it more dangerous than people realize. They claim that most people aren't fully engaged as drivers for an average of 27 seconds, even after the distraction is gone.
That means that three seconds of looking at a screen could actually lead to 30 seconds of distraction. Drivers are still thinking about the contents of the text message, for example, or considering the reply. Traveling at highway speeds -- around 60 miles per hour -- a car can go roughly a half a mile in 30 seconds, all with a driver who isn't really dialed in to the task at hand.
If one of these drivers hits you and causes serious injuries, you may lose wages and have significant medical expenses. It's good to know if you have a legal right to compensation.
Source: AAA Foundation, "Distracted Driving," accessed March 31, 2017