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Cell phones and defensive driving

New York residents who use their smartphones while behind the wheel of their car may be unable as a result to practice defensive driving. Even a few moments of glancing at a cellphone could interfere with the cognitive complexities and concentration involved in defensive driving.

Concerns about distracted driving are on the rise along with distracted driving itself. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported an increase in road fatalities in 2015 and 2016 after several years of decline. Furthermore, the NHTSA also reported that distracted driving was growing faster as a cause of these fatal motor vehicle accidents than drunk driving, drowsy driving, speeding or not wearing a seat belt.

A driver must anticipate that a pedestrian may be distracted due to looking at a cell hone or that another driver using a phone might drive through a light without noticing it has turned red. This anticipation is among the first steps necessary for defensive driving along with scanning the area for hazards and identifying them. Motorists must then choose their response to the threat and take action.

Even if motorists practice defensive driving, they could still be involved in an accident. Some accidents may occur that they are unable to prevent, such as a rear-end collision. These accidents can be devastating both physically and financially. The injured victims may be dealing with medical expenses and the cost of vehicle repair and be unable to return to work. They might assume that they will receive enough compensation from the at-fault driver's insurance company to cover these costs. If the insurance company's compensation offer is only a fraction of these expenses, this could be an added stress to a situation that is already difficult. The victim may want to speak to an attorney about trying to get a better settlement offer, but if that proves to be fruitless, then a lawsuit might be necessary.

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