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What is distracted driving and how does it cause car accidents?

Chicago residents see it each day on local roads. A driver puts on her makeup at a stoplight. Another chats on his phone while changing lanes. A mother in the driver's seat of her car reaches around to discipline her children in the backseat.

According to the United States government's website distraction.gov, all of these activities can be considered as contributing to distracted driving. Distracted driving is engaging in any other activity while driving that takes a driver's attention away from operating his vehicle. Talking, texting, using GPS devices, eating, drinking and a myriad of other activities can contribute to distracted driving.

Distraction.gov estimates that in 2012 around 421,000 people were hurt in distracted driving car accidents and that more than 3,300 people were killed in accidents caused by distraction. Those figures were increases over similar statistics taken in 2011. Younger drivers seem to be disproportionately affected by distracted driving.

Just over one out of every four drivers in a distracted driving fatal crash is in his or her 20's. One out of every ten drivers under 20 that is killed in a fatal car accident is reported to have been distracted before the crash. Texting and cell phone use may be the contributing factors to these unfortunate deaths.

Distractions take drivers' eyes off of the roads and their minds off of the important tasks of driving. When drivers lose their focus they can cause damaging car accidents. Those accidents can claim the lives of innocent people and force families to cope with losing loved ones. Anyone who has been affected by a car accident with a distracted driver may have rights to compensation for his accident-related damages.

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