California residents should know that the National Safety Council has made April Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Every April, new research is brought forward to shed light on the growing and dangerous trend of distracted driving. For April 2019, the Risk Institute at The Ohio State University provided studies on how driver behavior and roadway design affect distracted driving rates.

The institute focused on how good driving behavior could be encouraged and predicted. Researchers focused on the role that incentives, such as insurance discounts, might play. They found that the more confident drivers are, the more likely they are to engage in unsafe behavior behind the wheel.

After analyzing the records of 1.4 million crashes that took place in Ohio between 2013 and 2017, researchers found that urbanized areas see more distracted driving crashes than rural areas. They noted that crash rates are affected by factors like the length of a roadway segment and the number of lanes. Roads with medians or with shoulders that have asphalt pavement experienced fewer distracted driving crashes. Roundabouts reduced crash severity.

The Risk Institute is also coordinating a nationwide initiative to reduce distracted driving rates with companies, government organizations and researchers. It all comes at a crucial time: According to the NSC, 9 people die and 100 are injured each day in the U.S. in distracted driving crashes.

Distracted driving is a form of negligence just as much as speeding, drunk driving or drowsy driving is. When it’s behind a motor vehicle accident, those who are injured may have grounds for a personal injury claim. If they are partially to blame, they may not be barred from recovery, but they will have the amount they recover lowered. To negotiate for the maximum settlement possible, it may be a good idea to hire a lawyer.