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Study links distracted driving fatality rates with cellphone laws

ValuePenguin has calculated the distracted driving fatality rates of all 50 states for the years 2015 to 2017, and its conclusions should be of interest to Pennsylvania residents. Analysts found that the states with higher fatality rates tended to have less far-reaching laws regarding cellphone use.

Thirteen states were determined to have the most far-reaching laws, and these experienced nearly 30 percent fewer fatalities than the rest of the nation. Sixteen states and Washington, D.C., completely ban handheld devices among drivers; these had fatality rates that were 44 percent lower than those states only partial bans or no bans at all.

The five states with the highest fatality rates were Tennessee, Delaware, Wyoming, Texas and Montana. Tennessee experienced 7.2 fatalities per 10 billion vehicle miles traveled between 2015 and 2017: nearly five times the national average (1.49 fatalities). Delaware had a 3.28 fatality rate, but this state can be considered an outlier because it actually has a complete ban on texting and handheld devices.

Washington, D.C., and Rhode Island saw zero distracted driving fatalities during the three-year period. Another outlier is Nebraska, which achieved the second lowest fatality rate (after Nevada) and yet has nothing but partial bans on texting and phone use among novice drivers. Over 1,400 people were killed in phone-related crashes during the study period.

When motor vehicle accidents are caused by distracted driving or some other form of negligence, those who are not to blame may be able to receive compensation for their injuries, vehicle damage and other losses. It might be wise to hire a lawyer to file a personal injury claim since the guilty driver's auto insurance company may be aggressive in denying payment. A lawyer might hire investigators and other professionals to build up the case, and he or she may negotiate for a settlement.

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