Truck accidents: GPS and cellphones add to accident risk

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Many Connecticut motorists have come to rely on their smartphones and GPS systems to help find their way to unfamiliar destinations. But although these navigation tools have become nearly indispensable for a growing number of drivers, when used improperly they can also contribute to one of the greatest threats on Connecticut roads today: distracted driving.

What is distracted driving?

Distracted driving is a factor in roughly 20 percent of all traffic accidents nationwide, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The term "distracted driving" refers to any behavior that takes a driver's eyes, hands or attention away from operating the vehicle. Distracted driving comes in many forms, with some common examples including:

  • Using a handheld cellphone or navigation device
  • Eating or drinking
  • Grooming
  • Talking to passengers
  • Adjusting the stereo
  • Searching for lost items inside the vehicle

Although all types of distracted driving are dangerous for both the distracted driver and everyone else on the road, distractions from cellphones and GPS devices are particularly likely to cause accidents. This is because, unlike many other types of distraction, these devices occupy a driver's hands, eyes and concentration all at once, dramatically increasing the risk of a crash.

Distracted driving statistics

While many truck drivers are reluctant to acknowledge the safety risks they create by using cellphones and GPS devices while driving, several recent studies have confirmed the risks. A study at Carnegie Mellon found that cellphone use reduces the brain activity associated with driving by about 37 percent, while researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation institute found that drivers are 23 times more likely to crash while texting than while focused solely on driving.

Perhaps even more shocking is a study led by Professor David Strayer at the University of Utah, which found that drivers distracted by cellphones are twice as likely to crash as drunk drivers, the Connecticut Post reported. Distracted driving can be deadly in any type of vehicle, and the risk of severe injuries and death are even higher when large trucks are involved.

Seek legal help after an injury

For people who have been injured in a crash with a distracted truck driver in Connecticut, it is wise to consult with a personal injury lawyer who has experience handling cases involving truck accidents. A personal injury attorney can help protect an injured crash victim's rights and preserve his or her opportunity to pursue proper compensation for lost wages and pain and suffering, along with medical and rehabilitation expenses.