Study: Distracted driving crash injuries more likely to be severe

When a driver is paying attention to their phone rather than St. Louis traffic, they typically do not react as their vehicle closes in on another vehicle or pedestrian. After all, they are looking at what’s on their electronic device, not the impending collision. So the results of a new study make perfect sense: researchers have found that crashes caused by distracted drivers are more likely to result in severe injuries and fatalities than other motor vehicle wrecks.

The study by researchers at the Risk Institute at Ohio State University say the risks of severe injury or death in distracted driving crashes are enhanced in rear-end collisions and wrecks on interstate highways and in road construction zones.

The study also found that certain road designs – particularly roundabouts (also known as traffic circles) – can reduce the risk of accidents and diminish crash severity by forcing drivers to pay attention. Researchers say that targeted law enforcement actions aimed at distracted drivers could also help reduce crash and injury risks.

An unrelated study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that about 9 percent of all fatal crashes in 2016 were caused by distracted drivers.

The Ohio State researchers analyzed police reports on 1.4 million crashes and found that 48 percent involved distracted drivers. They also determined that drivers between 20 and 24 years old are responsible for the highest percentage of auto wrecks no matter what the cause (distractions, drunk driving, excess speed, etc.).

If you have been injured in a crash caused by a distracted driver, contact an attorney experienced in obtaining maximum compensation in negotiations and personal injury litigation.