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Highway Features and Distracted Driving: New Study Assesses Accident Risks


Anyone who has been seriously injured in a motor vehicle collision caused by a distracted driver should begin working with an experienced New York car accident lawyer as soon as possible to file a claim for financial compensation. But, who is responsible for the accident, and who should you sue? In most distracted driving accidents, the liable party is the distracted driver. Yet a new study suggests that the ways in which certain roads and highways are constructed might actually make distracted driving more likely. Although the study, published in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention, does not suggest that distracted drivers are not responsible for the injuries they cause in collisions, it does help to highlight some of the reasons that distracted driving crashes may occur more often in certain areas than others.

Drivers May be More Likely to Reach for the Phone on Certain Types of Roads

According to the authors of the study, using a cell phone while driving “is one of the most crucial factors of distraction-related traffic crashes.” As such, a study that investigates factors that may contribute to a driver’s decision to talk or text while driving ultimately may help to reduce the rate of collisions. What the researchers ultimately found is that certain types of roadways—from construction to other elements—can affect the likelihood of a distracted driving collision. In other words, motorists may be more likely to engage in distracted driving behaviors involving cell phones on certain roadways.

What are the factors that can contribute to a driver’s likelihood of picking up a smartphone for talking or texting? According to the study, “the presence of a shoulder, median, and access control on the relatively higher function class roadways could encourage more phone use while driving.” The authors of the study suggest that these road features may be perceived by motorists as offering a safety buffer. In addition, controlled-access freeways can seem like safer places to use a phone because there is no need to be aware of red lights or stop signs, and traffic generally flows at an even speed. At the same time, drivers might also perceive a sense of safety on roads with significantly lower speed limits, such as neighborhood streets with speed limits of 25 miles per hour, for example, and may decide to take out a smartphone to make a call or send a text.

The aim of the study is ultimately to “help transportation agencies identify suitable countermeasures in reducing distracted-related crashes.” To be sure, the study does not suggest that urban planners or freeway designers are liable for distracted driving collisions, but rather that motorists may be able to anticipate that distracted driving accidents could be more common in some areas than others. Distracted drivers who cause crashes will still be liable for negligence.

Understanding Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a major cause of collisions throughout New York. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately eight people are killed on average each day in the country by a distracted driver. It is also important to know that you can hold a motorist accountable for any type of distracted behavior that results in a crash with serious injuries, including the following forms of distraction:

● Visual;

● Manual; and

● Cognitive.

Contact a New York Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney for Assistance

Do you have questions about filing a personal injury lawsuit after a distracted driving crash? One of the experienced New York car accident attorneys at our firm can assist you. Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC today.

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