The importance of defensive driving

Pennsylvania drivers might want to be more careful on the road in light of the news that traffic fatalities are on the rise. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2015, deaths from motor vehicle accidents increased compared to the previous year after declining since 2007. The trend appears to have continued in 2016. Furthermore, distracted driving is increasing faster as a cause of those accidents compared to other causes such as drunk or fatigued driving.

Cellphone activity may be one reason for the increase in distracted driving. Motorists using a cellphone might be unsafe, and they may also be unable to drive defensively themselves because of the level of concentration needed.

Defensive driving requires a complex series of cognitive processes and a quick reaction time. The first step for motorists is to scan the area around them for any threats. They must be able to anticipate and identify those threats, and then they have to choose their response. A driver who has glanced away to look at a text message or because of some other distraction may be unable to respond effectively to dangers presented by others.

Car accidents that are caused by distracted driving may result in serious injuries to others. However, distracted driving as the cause of an accident might not be as easy for law enforcement to identify as a violation such as drunk driving. This means that the person who caused the accident may not face criminal charges. However, that will have no bearing on the success of a personal injury lawsuit if it can be demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that the motorist was negligent.