Kline Legal Group P.L.C.

Daydreaming the top cause of distracted driving deaths

Michigan readers may be surprised to learn that daydreaming is the top cause of fatal distracted driving accidents in the United States, according to a new data analysis report. Erie Insurance issued the report.

Researchers combed through the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, a nationwide database that tracks the number and causes of all car crashes that occur across the U.S. each year. They found that 172,000 people died in traffic accidents over the last five years, and 10 percent of those deaths were linked to distracted driving. Sixty-one percent of the distracted driving deaths involved at least one driver who was daydreaming, bored or lost in thought. In comparison, just 14 percent of the distracted driving deaths were blamed on texting, making a phone call or other cell phone distractions.

Erie Insurance has conducted the same study for several years and has typically gotten the same results. Experts say that humans are naturally inclined to let their minds wander during mundane tasks, including driving. As a result, automakers are adding technology to their vehicles to remind drivers to stay alert. Tesla's Autopilot technology issues warnings to drivers who appear to take their eyes off the road. Meanwhile, General Motors and Subaru are planning to install eye-tracking software in their semi-autonomous vehicles that will monitor a driver's attention level when behind the wheel.

Drivers are required to pay attention to the road at all times. If someone becomes distracted and causes an accident, he or she could be sued by anyone who is injured in the crash. Damages typically sought in such cases include medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and property loss. Victims of distracted driving car accidents could have their cases assessed by contacting a personal injury lawyer.

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