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Distracted driving is a major public safety hazard to us all

While today's motor vehicles are equipped with technologies that make them safer than ever, drivers are also more distracted than ever. From using smartphones and GPS devices to tuning the radio or attending to a child in the backseat; many of today’s drivers simply aren't paying attention to the road and these drivers are more likely to cause or be involved in traffic accidents.

According to the American Automobile Association, annually, an estimated 5,000 people die in traffic accidents caused by distracted drivers. Additionally, thousands of more drivers, passengers, bicyclists and pedestrians are injured in distracted driving-related accidents. In fact, during 2012 alone the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 420,000 people suffered injuries due to the reckless actions of distracted drivers.

While distracted driving has always been a safety issue and concern, modern technologies like cellphones have exacerbated the problem. New York is among the many states that have passed cellphone and texting driving laws. In New York, it's illegal to talk on or otherwise engage with a hand-held cellphone while operating a motor vehicle. Drivers who violate the law face fines from $50 to $450. More importantly, these drivers also face the difficult and probable reality of being injured or killed or injuring or killing others in an accident.

Despite laws banning drivers from using cellphones and widespread public service campaigns cautioning the many dangers associated with cellphone use and driving, people continue to engage in the dangerous behavior. According to the CDC, within the last 30 days, 69 percent of drivers ages 18 to 64 admitted to talking "on their cellphone while driving."

Individuals who have been injured due to the careless and reckless acts of a distracted driver may choose to consult with an attorney. Taking legal action can aid in the recovery of compensation to help account for medical expenses, lost wages and disabling injuries.

Source: CDC.gov, "Distracted Driving," Dec. 29, 2015

New York Department of Motor Vehicles, “Cell phone use & texting,” Dec. 29, 2015

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