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Fatal accidents to pedestrians, bicyclists on rise, study says

According to a recent study, pedestrians and bicyclists in North Carolina and around the U.S. were getting killed at a 50 percent higher rate than before the use of cellphones and other digital devices became common. From the years 2005 to 2010, fatal accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists jumped as the amount of potential distraction to driving increased. Some researchers said the growth of such distracted driving was a public health threat. A researcher from University of Nebraska Medical Center said that it may be very difficult to rein in now.

Data provided by the U.S. Fatality Analysis Reporting System showed that most of the pedestrian and bicyclist deaths that were caused by distracted driving were caused by white men between the ages of 25 and 64. While 344 pedestrians and 56 bicyclists were killed by distracted drivers in 2005, 500 pedestrians and 73 bicyclists were struck by distracted drivers in 2010. Of these deaths, half occurred during daylight hours.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration operates a website that shows that in 2012, more than 3,300 people were killed in accidents caused by distracted drivers. That may be compared to 10,228 drunk driving fatalities and a total of 32,885 traffic deaths in 2010, but many authorities are increasingly aware that distracted driving, whether it's visual, manual or cognitive, is a major cause for concern.

Distracted driving, whether it's due to such activities as texting and driving or talking on a cellphone, may lead to serious car accidents that can result in injuries and death. Those who have been injured by distracted drivers may have the ability to file a personal injury claim once the accident investigation is complete. Such claims might allow victims to recover the medical expenses that were incurred as a result of the accidents.

Source: Medical Daily, "Distracted Drivers Cause Pedestrian Deaths To Rise 50% From Texting, Talking On Phone, Or Eating At The Wheel", Lecia Bushak, November 30, 2013

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