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Study: Drivers distracted in 68 percent of crashes

It should not come as a surprise to any driver that distraction can be deadly behind the wheel. Enormous efforts have been made to raise awareness and educate drivers about the risks of distracted driving, and laws in Georgia specifically prohibit texting while driving. Some drivers are prohibited from using a cellphone in any capacity.

Unfortunately, despite these efforts, distracted driving remains a serious concern. In fact, it may be more concerning than we even realize. Recently, the results from a three-year study were released and they reveal some troubling information distracted driving.

According to the study, participants were clearly distracted in 68 percent of the 905 accidents researchers looked at. The distractions observed included actions like using a cellphone, reading, eating, drinking, grooming, using a GPS device, reaching for something and dealing with emotional distress.

Distraction was measured by cameras and sensors that were equipped in the 3,500 participants' vehicles. This footage was then analyzed and the researchers found that distractions -- especially those taking a driver's eyes off the road -- were to blame for an increased risk of accidents.

Perhaps most concerning is the fact that participants in the study were aware that their habits and driving behaviors were being monitored, yet they still engaged in distracting behavior. This could suggest that drivers who are not being monitored are even more likely to do things other than focus on the road.

Considering how dangerous distracted driving is and how many people regularly get distracted behind the wheel, the possibility of being hurt in an accident caused by one of these drivers is certainly something to be concerned about.

Many different groups are looking for ways to address this problem, but there is no indication of an immediate solution. What this means is that distracted driving accidents will continue to happen, and it will be up to the victims and their families to hold a driver financially and legally accountable to reinforce the message that such behaviors are unacceptable.

Source: CBS News, "The biggest distractions that cause car crashes," Randy Dotinga, Feb. 23, 2016

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