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Risk Institute provides insight into distracted driving trends

The National Safety Council has designated April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. In that regard, The Risk Institute at The Ohio State University has released some data on the growing trend of distracted driving that should be of interest to West Virginia residents.

For example, researchers have studied and tried to predict driver behaviors in the effort to reduce those that are risky. They analyzed how incentives like insurance discounts might encourage drivers to be safer. They found that drivers who are especially confident are more likely to be distracted or dangerous behind the wheel.

In another study from the Risk Institute, researchers studied the records of 1.4 million crashes that occurred in Ohio between 2013 and 2017 and found that urban areas saw more distracted driving-related motor vehicle crashes than rural areas. Factors like the length of a roadway segment, its location and the number of lanes influenced distracted driving rates. Medians and paved shoulders reduce that rate, while roundabouts reduce crash severity.

According to the National Safety Council, approximately nine people die and 100 are injured every day on average in the U.S. in distracted driving crashes. These crashes involve phones as well as in-vehicle technologies like dashboard touchscreens and voice command features. The Risk Institute is coordinating a nationwide effort to reduce distracted driving with the help of government entities, companies and researchers.

Anything that takes a driver's attention from the road is a distraction, including, eating, drinking, adjusting the radio, and talking with a passenger. If a distracted driver causes a car crash, occupants of other vehicles who have been injured might want to have an attorney's help when seeking compensation for their medical expenses and other losses.

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