If you are one of the many Massachusetts residents whose employment duties require driving, then you put yourself at risk for work-related injuries every time you get behind the wheel. Traffic, weather conditions and road conditions can be unpredictable enough without adding distracted drivers into the mix.

Preventing distracted driving accidents is as simple as paying attention to the road and not letting anything interfere with that. Sounds simple enough, but you would — or maybe you wouldn’t — be surprised by the number of people around you who fail in their duties as drivers by not keeping their minds and eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.

Seemingly innocent activities could lead to injury

You may already know that cellphone, GPS and infotainment system use while driving is dangerous and can lead to serious crashes. However, other activities also put your life and well-being in jeopardy. Consider the following:

  • Any number of distractions outside your vehicle could draw your attention away from driving. Each year, this factor causes approximately 7% of distracted driving fatalities.
  • The people inside a vehicle represent a significant distraction as well. Around 5% of fatalities caused by distracted driving result from vehicle occupants.
  • The chances of a teenager being involved in a fatal crash double with just one passenger. That risk jumps up to five times more likely with at least two additional people in the vehicle.
  • Turning up the radio or adjusting the climate controls in your vehicle while driving could put you into the 2% of people who die from these distractions.
  • You may think the largest distraction while driving comes from electronics, but you’d be wrong. An alarming 62% of distracted driving fatalities result from a driver’s mind wandering or getting lost in thought.
  • Driving while putting out or lighting a cigarette causes about 1% of these fatalities each year.
  • Another 2% result from eating or drinking while driving.
  • Music and conversation reduce your attention to the road by around 40%.
  • If you have ever needed to go to the bathroom while driving, you know how distracting it can be.
  • Parents with kids in the car spend approximately 21% of their trips paying attention to the kids instead of the road.
  • It takes around five seconds to read or send a text message. Can you imagine how far you travel in that time at highway speeds?
  • You have a better chance of an accident with a texting driver than you do with a drunk driver — six times more likely, in fact.

There are even more alarming statistics regarding distracted driving, but they are too numerous to list here. The bottom line is that when you travel the roadways for work, you are always at risk of an accident involving a distracted driver. You paying attention behind the wheel has probably already gotten you out of a few near misses, but your luck could run out.

If it does and you suffer injuries as a result, you could pursue workers’ compensation benefits to cover your medical expenses and a portion of your lost income. However, you may also decide to pursue a third-party claim against the distracted driver. To better understand your rights and the best course of action for you, it may help to discuss the situation with an experienced attorney.