Texas Study Finds That Distracted Driving is Health Epidemic

Texting and talking on cell phones while driving have led to a dramatic rise in fatalities caused by distracted driving, researchers say.

According to Reuters, the study published in the American Journal of Public Health shows distracted driving fatalities have risen 28 percent since 2005, jumping from 4,572 that year to 5,870 last year. The figure for 2009 represents 16 percent of all traffic deaths recorded last year.

Researchers from the University of North Texas Health Science Center conducted the study.

Hundreds of Thousands of Injuries

Recently released data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that distracted drivers accounted for more than 448,000 injuries last year.

"Our results suggested that recent and rapid increases in texting volumes have resulted in thousands of additional road fatalities in the United States," researchers Fernando Wilson and Jim Stimpson wrote in their paper.

The authors recommend implementation of distracted driving prohibitions nationwide in an effort to deter drivers from texting or talking on their phones while behind the wheel.

200,000 Distracted Driving Crashes

The Miami Herald reports that separate research by the National Safety Council estimates more than 200,000 motor vehicle accidents are caused per year by texting.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently declared that because the volume of text messages sent and received are growing by leaps and bounds, distracted driving qualifies as a health epidemic. He has pledged renewed efforts to pressure states to enact strict bans on texting and other handheld uses of cell phones while driving.

Much More Than a Statistic

When you are involved in a crash caused by a distracted driver and have suffered a serious injury or lost a loved one, the facts, figures and research become much more personal. Injuries caused by a negligent driver can cause more than physical pain; there are economic costs in the form of medical bills, property damage and lost wages to be dealt with as well.

A Texas personal injury lawyer can help you financially recover from the damage of a crash caused by a distracted driver, enabling you to afford the quality health care necessary to help you physically recover. Contact a personal injury attorney for an evaluation of your case and legal options.