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Texting and driving: The worst kind of distracted driving?

Advances in technology have become increasingly important for Knoxville residents of all ages. Younger people in particular are heavily dependent on technology, including smart phones, tablets and similar devices. While these devices have connected individuals together and increased the flow of information, they also present certain dangers, particularly when they are used improperly.

Last week, this blog discussed a study from AAA that demonstrated how teen drivers had higher rates of car collisions than olderdrivers of other ages. Experts blamed the higher rates on a number of factors, including different forms of distracted driving.

Safety advocates are especially concerned about drivers using smart phones behind the wheel. According to one study, the amount of brain activity is reduced significantly, about 37 percent, when cell phones are used while driving. Using cell phones to read or send texts may be even worse because texting may require taking eyes and hands off the wheel. This has amounted to a substantial amount of traffic accidents, leading some to call distracted driving an epidemic on the road.

Texting and driving can be especially dangerous because there are multiple kinds of distraction. Visual, manual and cognitive distraction is involved with texting, which only heightens the dangers to others.

While distracted driving is dangerous, it can also be used to support a finding of liability in a personal injury lawsuit based on the car accident. Texting and driving is a violation of Tennessee law, and it is evidence that the driver was not driving with the care that was required. Accordingly, injured parties can obtain compensation from the other driver's negligence when it is determined the other driver was texting and driving.

Source: TN Traffic Safety, "Distracted driving," accessed on June 5, 2015

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