August 28, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- St. Louis residents are at risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident every time they take to the streets. Whether as a driver themselves, a passenger, bicyclist or pedestrian, the chance of being hit by a car, truck or other vehicle is real. The reasons for auto accidents vary and range from general road conditions to drunk driving to driving at unsafe speeds. Distracted driving is a growing concern as a factor in many car accidents
Distracted Driving Defined
"Distracted driving" is term that can describe a myriad of activities. Anything that requires the attention of the driver and takes his or her attention away from the act of driving can be labelled a distraction.
A driving distraction can be as common as having a conversation with someone riding in the car with the driver. It can also be putting on makeup while driving, reading directions or following a GPS and even tuning a radio or changing a CD. Cell phone use, especially texting while driving, has received greater focus in recent years as a leading cause of distraction while behind the wheel.
Missouri State Laws
While many states in the country have bans on any handheld cell phone use at all, Missouri is one of roughly nine states that have not yet enacted such legislation. The only law currently in place regarding drivers' cell phone use is that which prohibits drivers under the age of 21 from texting while driving.
In 2013, efforts were made to expand the state's law to apply to all drivers regardless of their age to no avail. Critics claim that despite the current law from being a "primary" law (meaning that an office can stop a driver seen texting for that purpose only), many times texters are not stopped because of the need for a law enforcement to visually determine drivers' ages. Being able to determine whether or not someone is over the age of 21 from a distance and through a car windshield is a difficult task.
St. Louis Motor Vehicle Accident Statistics
No matter the cause of a motor vehicle accident, citizens, legislators and law enforcement alike have a common goal of keeping people safe on the streets. In 2011, St. Louis County registered a total of 26,581 vehicular accidents. Of that total:
20,989 involved property damage
5,545 involved personal injury
47 resulted in a fatality
Throughout the state, there were 784 fatalities from car accidents in 2011. That means that St. Louis County accounted for more than 16% of all fatalities in the state that year.
Options For Accident Victims
With the danger of distracted drivers ever present, it is important that all accidents involving such behaviors are properly reported. If you or someone you know is hit by a distracted driver, you should report the accident to the local authorities but you should also contact an attorney. Taking both courses of action is the best way to get the compensation you deserve and help keep everyone safer in the future.