February 28, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Smoking behind the wheel: A dangerous form of driver distraction
Article provided by Weimorts & Whitehead, P.A.
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Texting behind the wheel gets a lot of attention when it comes to driver distraction. A teenager focusing more on his or her cellphone than driving is likely the first image that comes to mind when contemplating distracted driving, but there is far more to the picture.
From eating behind the wheel to yelling at the kids, anything that takes a driver's attention off the road can lead to a distracted driving car accident. Across the nation, some commentators are beginning to focus on smoking while driving and the threat it can pose to everyone on the road.
Research indicates smoking while driving may be more dangerous than cellphone use
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lists "avoid smoking while driving" as its number-two tip to prevent distracted driving crashes. Smoking while driving can be distracting because it requires drivers to remove one or both hands from the wheel to light a cigarette and hold it for a lengthy period of time. In addition, there is the risk of dropping a lit cigarette; drivers scrambling to locate and snuff out a cigarette before it burns clothing or seat cushions are looking down and are not focused on the road. In the worst case scenarios, dropping a cigarette can even cause a car fire.
A study from the National Institutes of Health found that the average increment of distraction for people who smoked while driving was 12 seconds -- the equivalent of traveling 525 feet without looking at the road. In contrast, the same study found that people who used a cellphone behind the wheel only averaged 10.6 seconds of distraction.
Separate research from the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety found that in Canada -- where smoking and driving is illegal -- smoking was the cause of 1 percent of distraction-related crashes. Over a five-year period, that amounts to about 12,780 crashes.
Injured by a distracted driver? Speak to a Florida injury attorney
While smoking and driving bans are not unheard of in other countries, the United States is yet to jump on the bandwagon. However, just because smoking and driving is legal does not mean it is safe or consequence-free. If a driver causes a car accident by smoking or by being distracted in any other manner, the driver (or his or her insurer) may be held financially responsible for any resulting harm through legal action.
If you have been injured by a distracted driver, you may need legal representation in order to collect the full monetary damages you are entitled to from any responsible parties. Contact a personal injury attorney to learn more about your legal options.---
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