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Distracted driving to be the focus of April safety push

Distracted driving accidents are becoming increasingly common in New York and around the country, and the popularity of mobile electronic devices is the reason according to most experts. Accident data gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals that distracted driving claimed 3,477 lives and caused 391,000 injuries on America's roads in 2015, but some road safety groups feel that the true death and injury toll could be much higher.

Experts are divided over these statistics because it can be difficult for police officers to determine whether or not motorists were distracted when they crashed. Unlike drivers who have consumed alcohol or taken drugs, distracted motorists provide law enforcement with few clues. Investigating these accidents can also be challenging because they tend to take place at high speeds and damage is often catastrophic.

The data suggests that teenagers find it particularly difficult to keep their eyes on the road ahead while behind the wheel, and much of the public information messaging coming out of agencies like NHTSA is designed to reach a younger audience. An example of this approach is a campaign that will be run in April to coincide with Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Federal and state safety agencies looking to connect with a younger audience are also eschewing traditional media such as television and radio in favor of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Prosecutors rarely pursue criminal cases against distracted drivers because establishing proof beyond a reasonable doubt can be difficult, but personal injury attorneys face a less daunting challenge. Attorneys pursuing civil remedies on behalf of motor vehicle accident victims must prove their cases based on a preponderance of the evidence, which means that they must convince juries that their arguments are more likely true than not.

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