In the United States there are approximately more than 6 million car accidents per year, resulting in some 3 million injuries and over 40,000 deaths. That is more than 8,000 injuries and 100 deaths per day, with a total cost of over 200 billion dollars. Notwithstanding, we all have a tendency to believe that we are good drivers even though we know that can't be true.
Insurance companies will do whatever they can to discourage people from bringing claims for their motor vehicle accident related injuries, so as to protect their profit margin. They even run commercials with subtle comments to that effect, such as portraying a scenario in which you have totaled your brand new car, but "no one was hurt." The reality is that if you sustain enough accident related damage to your brand new vehicle such that the car is deemed a total loss, it would be almost miraculous if your weren't injured. If you have been injured in a car accident and have a valid claim, then you shouldn't hesitate to bring that claim because that is exactly why you pay insurance premiums.
But what is the number one reason why people have car accidents? I can almost hear you saying the answer to yourselves, but knowing the answer and truly appreciating it are two different things. Reportedly, the number one cause of car accidents is driver distraction. Many of us know this, yet often catch ourselves succumbing to distraction when behind the wheel. The fact is that a car is a deadly instrument and driving is a very serious responsibility that requires 100% of our attention at all times.
Driver distractions include, talking on the phone (hands free or not), texting, conversing with passengers, eating, grooming, day dreaming, sleep deprivation, elevated emotions, music, small children, driving under the influence and GPS programming just to name a few. I once saw a driver on the Grand Central Parkway in Queens, driving while eating a plate of spaghetti! We are virtually all guilty of being distracted at one time or another while driving. But if you truly want to maximize your safety when you drive, start by asking yourself one question. That is, what will your focus be the next time you get behind the wheel?
Long Island Lawyer
Paul A. Lauto, Esq.