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April is distracted driver's awareness month

Despite all the awareness and various laws targeting distracted driving, the percentage of people injured in an accident involving a distracted driving increased nine percent, from 387,000 in 2011 to 421,000 in 2012. According to one source, one in four car crashes involves a distracted driver. Minnesota residents may not be aware that distractions on the road can take three forms, visual, where the driver takes their eyes off the road; manual, where the driver takes their hands off the steering wheel; and cognitive, where the driver takes their mind off driving. Texting and driving is an especially dangerous distraction as it combines all three distractions.

April is distracted driving month and during this month drivers should commit to safe driving practices, including avoiding distractions in the car. Distractions are not only related to cellphones, though they may be the most common, but also include eating in the car as it takes the driver's focus away from driving.

As there is some acceptance of the dangers of distracted driving and using the cellphone while driving, many people have shifted to using hands free technology during driving, arguing that their hands are free and therefore they have control over the vehicle at all times. In fact, 80 percent of drivers across the country believe that handheld devices are safer, but hands free does not solve the problem as various studies have proven that the brain still remains distracted by the conversation and drivers are unable to multitask efficiently. Drivers end up missing important road signals, such as changing traffic lights or pedestrians because their minds are occupied elsewhere.

When the mind is occupied elsewhere and the driver is on the road, car accidents often end up happening and Minnesota residents end up getting injured. An injury often requires medical care to treat and, if this is the case, a personal injury lawsuit may be one way to receive the compensation a victim deserves.

Source: Bringmethenews.com, "Message from mom of injured toddler: don't text and drive," Melanie Sommer, Feb. 9, 2015

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