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New research unveiled for Distracted Driving Awareness Month

As part of its effort to curb distracted driving, the National Safety Council has designated every April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. In time for its observance in 2019, Ohio State University's The Risk Institute has released some of the findings of its distracted-driving-related studies. Pennsylvania residents should know that The Risk Institute is coordinating a nationwide effort to address what is an epidemic.

According to the NSC, distracted driving crashes cause 9 fatalities and 100 injuries every day in the US. These accidents often involve drivers who were using their cell phones or in-vehicle technologies like voice command features and dashboard touchscreens.

One of The Risk Institue's studies found that drivers who are confident in their driving ability are more likely to engage in distracting or other unsafe behaviors. Researchers have explored the various ways that drivers could be coaxed into developing safe habits, such as insurance discounts. Knowing how drivers behave is the first step to preventing bad behaviors.

Another study focused on the way road conditions affect distracted driving crash rates. Urbanized areas experience more of this kind of accident than rural regions. The length of roadway segments, the number of lanes and the location all influence the rate. The rate goes down, though, on roads with medians or paved shoulders.

Distracted driving is not only an epidemic, but it also is an underreported one. If cell phones are involved, it's a matter of obtaining the phone records. However, other types of distracted driving can be difficult to prove if drivers do not admit to it. Victims of motor vehicle crashes may, therefore, want to see a lawyer about their chances of recovering damages. If the case is strong, an attorney may even handle settlement negotiations and, as a last resort, litigation.

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