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Distractions increase risk for highway work zone crash 29 times

Every 5.4 minutes, a car crash occurs in a highway work zone somewhere in the U.S. What Michigan motorists should know is that any number of things can raise the risk for such a crash. Speeding and the narrowness of the lanes are two factors, but above them all is distracted driving. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Missouri has found that drivers who are inattentive for any length of time are 29 times more likely to be in a crash or near-collision.

Distractions can range from phone use to eating and drinking. Even conversations with other vehicle occupants can take a driver’s attention from the road. Texting, though, is one of the most dangerous. Sending a text takes approximately five seconds, and at a speed of 55 mph, a driver can travel the length of a football field while doing so.

For their data, researchers relied on the Naturalistic Driving Study conducted by the Transportation Research Board in its second Strategic Highway Research Program. That study gathered first-hand accounts of how 3,000 drivers interacted with their vehicle, the road and the environment prior to a crash. This newer study provides specific results that could help state transportation agencies implement driver safety improvement measures. These measures could include texting bans and other policies to curb distracted driving.

All drivers have a duty to keep themselves and others safe, and when distraction prevents them from carrying this out, they will be to blame for any motor vehicle collisions. Victims, for their part, may hire a lawyer for advice and guidance. The lawyer may bring in crash investigators and other experts to prove the other side’s negligence before heading off to negotiations. If negotiations do not end in the desired settlement, then victims may consider taking the case to court.

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