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Why is distracted driving such a huge problem?

Experts often blame distracted driving for increases in deadly accidents in recent years. People can't seem to keep their eyes on the road and their minds on the task at hand. In some tragic cases, other people literally die because of it.

Maybe you've already been in an accident with a distracted driver, finding yourself in the hospital because of someone else's inexplicable negligence. Maybe you've had a near-miss incident where you had to lay on the horn and swerve to avoid a driver with his or her head buried in a cellphone. Maybe you've just seen so many news stories about distracted driving accidents that you're worried, though you haven't been involved in one yet.

If you're wondering why distracted driving is such a serious issue, here are a few key reasons:

1. It leads to many teenage accidents

In one study, researchers looked at distracted driving and found it was a significant issue with teenagers. The main distractions they identified were passengers (15 percent of distracted driving accidents) and texting (12 percent).

You may already know that teens get in more accidents than they should. This has been true for years, as they cause more crashes than older drivers. The main reason people usually give is their inexperience. It makes sense. Lacking experience with any skill makes it harder to perform well. That's no different with driving.

The problem, then, is that teens are already inexperienced and accident-prone. When you add distractions like passengers and cellphones, the risks skyrocket.

2. It takes many forms

The main reason that distraction is such an issue is that it is a broad category. It's not as if there is one thing drivers need to avoid. Some get distracted by cellphones and text messages. Others get distracted when they try to eat and drive. Others get distracted by passengers. Still others pay too much attention to the music, browse social media, use the GPS or do a host of other things that increase the risk.

As such, a "safe" driver who opts never to text and drive could still get distracted and cause an accident.

3. It can happen to anyone

Teenagers catch a lot of flak for distracted driving, and their rates are high. Some claim that distraction leads to 60 percent of their accidents. That's huge.

But you have to remember that anyone can get distracted, at any age. An adult can get distracted by a call from their boss. A parent can get distracted by a crying baby. Distractions happen constantly, which is why they cause so many wrecks.

Your options

If you do get into an accident with a distracted driver, you need to know if you have a right to financial compensation for your injuries.

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