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How dangerous are distracted drivers in California?

Of all the 50 states, California is probably near the top in terms of the strictest approach to drivers using electronic devices while operating a vehicle. However, does this strict approach actually make a difference when it comes to statistics regarding distracted driving? Just how dangerous are distracted drivers on California roadways?

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, of all the car accidents that occur every year throughout the country, approximately 80 percent involve driver inattention in some form or another. That is a huge number. Of course, driver inattention can be caused by more than just the use of electronic devices. Drivers can also be distracted by passengers in the vehicle, especially young children. And, there is always the radio to distract drivers, even though many vehicles now have voice-control when it comes to playing music.

Only time will tell whether strict laws aimed at decreasing distracted driving are successful in the attempt to bring down the rate of accidents that involve driver inattention. Because some of these laws have been implemented fairly recently, it may take a few years to track statistics and, hopefully, see an impact.

California residents who are injured in a car crash caused by a distracted driver need to make sure that the driver's inattention is documented as a cause. During an accident investigation police officers may ask the driver for their cell phone in order to see if there were any text messages or emails around the time of the crash. If this type of evidence is in the accident report, it could be invaluable in a personal injury lawsuit.

Source: California Office of Traffic Safety, "Distracted Driving," Accessed Oct. 31, 2015

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