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Distracted Driving, a Common Danger to Montana Drivers

Possible driver distractions

In recent years, distracted driving has grown to a proportion never seen before. Whether you’re traveling Interstate 90 or within the city limits of Billings, there is likely a distracted driver somewhere within your proximity.

The urge to pick up a phone, tamper with infotainment settings, and multitask while driving has become such a cultural norm that many drivers do it without giving it any thought.

Many drivers know that it’s dangerous, but are confident in their ability to engage in more than one task behind the wheel.

How prevalent is distracted driving in Montana?

Montana’s rural roadways make it especially dangerous for drivers to take their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel. An article in the Times Record News references federal data collected and analyzed by insurance giant Esurance, who ranked Montana among the most dangerous states to drive in.

According to crash data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from 2013-2017, Montana had a crash fatality rate of 17.7 per 100,000 residents – making it the sixth most dangerous state on the list. Mississippi ranked No. 1 at a fatality rate of 23.1 per 100,000 residents.

Esurance placed emphasis on rural roadways and identified distracted driving as one of the leading factors, accounting for 9.9 percent of all fatal crashes.

Distracted driving risk factors

Distracted driving has always been a major cause of car crashes. With the advent of handheld technology and built-in infotainment systems, more drivers have become increasingly engaged with technology.

An article in Psychology Today identifies the leading risk factors in distracted driving by breaking them down into three categories. These include:

  • Visual distractions: Even when drivers have their hands on the wheel, taking their eyes off the road for even a split second can result in a serious collision. Visual distractions often occur when drivers focus on people or objects in or outside of their vehicles.
  • Manual distractions: Drivers should always have both hands on the wheel in order to maintain control of their vehicles. Taking one or both hands off the wheel to eat, drink, or answer a phone call greatly increases the risk of a crash.
  • Cognitive distractions: Drivers may have their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, but daydreaming, preoccupied thoughts, and drowsiness can make them less attentive.

Injured in a crash? Know your rights!

It’s a shame that those who comply with traffic laws and drive responsibly should have their lives turned upside down because of someone else’s negligent actions.

That’s why the legal team at Braukmann Law, PLLC is dedicated to fighting for the rights of injured motorists and their families in Billings and throughout the state of Montana.

If you were injured in a crash with a distracted driver, one of our highly-skilled attorneys would like to meet with you and discuss your legal options. Don’t wait. Contact us today to get started.

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