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Strict cellphone laws can mean fewer distracted driving deaths

ValuePenguin analysts believe that there is a link between distracted driving fatality rates and the strictness or laxity of cellphone laws in each state. Based on data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Highway Administration, they determined that there were, between 2015 and 2017, more than 1,400 distracted driving crash fatalities where cellphone use was involved. Missouri, which has a partial ban on texting, ranked 20th.

The five states with the highest fatality rate were Tennessee, Delaware, Wyoming, Texas and Montana. Of the five, only Delaware has a complete ban on both texting and all handheld phone use, making it an outlier of sorts. These five states accounted for 31 percent of the distracted driving fatalities between 2015 and 2017.

On the other hand, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C., which have complete bans on texting and handheld phone use, saw zero fatalities in that three-year period. The 13 states with what were deemed the most far-reaching cellphone laws experienced nearly 30 percent fewer fatalities than the rest of the country. Tennessee saw the highest with 7.2 fatalities per 10 billion miles driven, followed by Delaware's 3.28 and Wyoming's 3.22. The national average turned out to be 1.49.

Calling and texting are not the only forms of distraction. Even basic activities like eating, drinking and talking with passengers can take one's attention from the road. Distracted drivers will be held financially responsible for any car accidents they cause, and victims might be eligible to receive compensation for their losses. A personal injury attorney can often be of assistance in handling settlement negotiations with the at-fault motorist's insurance company and with filing a lawsuit if the amount that is offered is insufficient.

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