Is distracted driving really the menace that people make it seem?

You can find warnings about distracted driving on billboards, in radio ads and even in the plotlines of books or movies. Distracted driving has become a kind of cultural boogeyman, and it’s easy to lull yourself into a false sense of security by assuming that tales of the dangers associated with distracted driving are actually wildly exaggerated.

After all, you probably know people who text at the wheel or engage in other forms of distraction, like grooming or eating during their morning commute. You may have even done these things yourself. Is distracted driving as dangerous as people think it is?

Distracted driving has become one of the leading causes of crashes across the country

While not as deadly as drunk driving, distracted driving has become a national epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are nine deadly distracted driving crashes every day, which adds up to around 3,500 deaths each year. Thousands more get hurt in crashes that would have been preventable if both drivers were simply paying attention to the road instead of for their phones.

Whether you were hit by a distracted driver during your daily commute or you witnessed a crash and stopped to contribute to the police report, you should speak up if you think you saw a driver texting or handling their phone immediately before the crash.

Speaking up does not make you a snitch, but rather a responsible citizen. If officers have reason to suspect distraction, they can obtain phone records that can make it clear that a driver deleted their app history or text messages after the crash because they knew the messages would implicate them. It may also be possible to review nearby security camera and traffic camera footage to validate your claims.

People who are injured by distracted drivers may have the right to file insurance claims or even pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who caused the crash.