Tennessee Tops the Nation in Distracted Driver Accidents

Using your phone is one of the most dangerous things you can do while operating a vehicle. According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Safety Council, Tennessee has had more distracted driving wrecks than any other state in the nation. Cell phone use is involved in more than 10 percent of all fatal crashes in Tennessee, 10 times the national average and much higher than more populous states like Massachusetts and New Jersey. While Tennessee law bans all drivers from texting while driving, it is legal for adults to talk on the phone. Nevertheless, people continue to text at the wheel, often with fatal consequences.

What is distracted driving?

Distracted driving is any activity that takes a person’s attention away from driving, including:

  • Texting
  • Browsing the Internet
  • Checking email
  • Reading maps
  • Using a navigation system
  • Watching a video
  • Adjusting the radio

Texting is by far the most dangerous of these activities because it takes visual, manual and cognitive attention away from driving. According to a Carnegie Mellon study, driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent. Sending or receiving a text takes the driver’s eyes away from the road for about 4.6 seconds. At 55 miles per hour, that is like driving the length of a football field blindfolded. You are three times more likely to get in an accident when reaching for the phone, dialing, browsing or texting.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, in 2011 in the United States:

  • 387,000 people were injured and 3,331 people died in crashes involving distracted drivers.
  • 11 percent of drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time of the accident, with 21 percent using a cell phone.
  • 25 percent of teens responded to a text message once or more every time they drove.
  • 20 percent of teens and 10 percent of parents had extended multi-message conversations while driving.
  • More teens died from texting while driving than from drunk driving.

Between 2004 and 2014, there were 153,724 reported distracted driving-related accidents in Tennessee alone.

If you were injured or lost a loved one in an accident with a distracted driver, an experienced Kingsport, TN auto accident attorney can carefully assess the details of your situation and then recommend the best legal options. Contact Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, P.C. to schedule a free consultation today.