Missouri’s Distracted Drivers Come in All Ages

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 5,400 people died in accidents involving distracted driving in 2009 and over 448,000 people were injured. This is a slight reduction from 2008, when nearly 6,000 people were killed and over 500,000 were injured as a result of distracted drivers.

Despite the recent drop in the number of traffic fatalities involving distracted driving, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood still considers it an "epidemic." In Missouri alone, there were 167 fatal accidents involving a distracted driver and over 10,000 injuries according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Distracted driving comes in many forms and can include anything that causes the driver to take his or eyes or focus off the road. Some of the most common sources of driver distraction include:

  • Eating or drinking
  • Looking at a map or GPS device
  • Talking to other passengers
  • Talking or texting on cell phones and mobile devices

The Governor's Highway Safety Association notes that 30 states have laws which prevent drivers from texting while behind the wheel and eight states have laws prohibiting drivers from using hand-held cell phone devices.

Younger Drivers Most At-Risk

According to a recent survey by the Century Council, 32 percent of teen drivers talk on the phone while driving and 24 percent receive or sent text messages. Surprisingly, their parents do more of the same activities, with 55 percent speaking on the phone and 22 percent texting. Teen drivers, however, remain overrepresented in distracted driving fatalities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that teen drivers are four times more likely to be involved in an accident than other drivers. They are also most likely to be involved a fatal distracted driving accident. Of all distracted driving deaths, 16 percent involved drivers under the age of 20, the highest percentage of any age group.

Working with an Attorney

If you have been injured in an accident involving a distracted driver, it is important to contact an experienced Kansas City personal injury attorney. Working with a lawyer can help determine the extent of your injuries and exactly what you will need to fully recover.