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Distracted driving a growing issue on roads

Drivers in Sugar Land know that even without the burden of distraction, simple mistakes can cause severe or even deadly car accidents. But when a driver is distracted, the chances of a car accident are much higher and the choice can have life-altering consequences on those involved.

Many have lost family members to distracted driving and officials and community members are trying to do something about it. Distracted driving took the lives of two parents and paralyzed their young children after the driver of an oncoming sport utility vehicle swerved into their lane. The family was heading home to Houston from a vacation. The SUV driver, who had his wife and a 1-year-old in the car at the time of the crash, lost his wife in the accident. Police say he was trying to find a DVD while he was driving.

According to the U.S. Transportation Department, drivers are 23 times more likely to have an accident if they are texting while driving. In 2010, there were more than 3,000 deaths in accidents that involved distracted driving. Officials are setting up campaigns, such as a website called distraction.gov. Families have also launched nonprofit groups such as FocusDriven in order to bring more attention to the dangers of using cellphones while driving.

Officials say although cellphones have been the symbol of distracted driving recently, the issue has always been a top priority on roads and did not appear simply because of cellphones. People can be distracted in various ways, from eating and drinking while driving to playing with the radio. The issue remains that when people make the decision to not pay attention to the road, it can devastate lives forever.

Source: MySA, "Distracted driving gets attention," Michelle Koidin Jaffee, Feb. 13, 2012

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