Despite all of the awareness around the dangers of cellphone use while driving (and the mountain of evidence showing that distracted driving kills), people are still risking their lives to fire off text messages and check social media while behind the wheel, says the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). New research from IIHS indicates that the “manipulation” of cell phones is up 57 percent overall based on surveys comparing drivers in 2014 and top drivers in 2017.
And researchers say people aren’t really talking on their phones as much as they are “fiddling” with them. Whereas in previous years’ surveys, drivers would be seen holding a cell phone or talking on it, they are now consistently finding that drivers are scrolling and interacting with their screens instead. And this means one thing—their attention is elsewhere. Not on the road and what’s going on around them. This can lead to big trouble including horrific accidents that kill not only drivers but other motorists and pedestrians sharing the road with these careless individuals.
IIHS research found some other startling facts about what drivers are doing today that cause distractions while they drive. Other than talking on and manipulating handheld cell phones, they are also found 23 percent of drivers doing one or more of the following:
- Wearing headsets with mics or Bluetooth earpieces
- Wearing earbuds or headphones
- Touching the systems in the vehicle, such as the climate control, radio, or GPS
- Holding and using other types of electronic devices other than phones
- Singing or talking
- Drinking and eating
- Grooming their hair or face
- Reaching for objects
- Reading printed material
The National Safety Council says that there is no true way to actually measure the number of crashes causing fatalities and injuries in the U.S. each year because these crashes are often under-reported. There is no reliable way that it can be determined how many crashes are involved or are contributed to by the use of cell phones.
Police must typically rely on drivers to admit that they were using the phone—which doesn’t always happen and may be impeded by serious injuries at the scene and eliminated altogether in the case of a deceased driver. Statements from witnesses are also sometimes unreliable. What’s more, the police may not even investigate whether or not a cell phone was in use at the time of the accident, particularly if more obvious reasons for the accident exist, such as speeding or drunk driving.
The National Safety Council goes on to say that the use of hands-free devices doesn’t make it safe to use your phone while driving. Drivers who talk on cellphones while driving can take in as much as 50 percent less of their driving environment—including red lights and pedestrians. Using voice-to-text is also unsafe because it results in a mental distraction that can lead to serious accidents.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of a distracted driver, contact the Law Offices of Howard Kornberg and our car accident attorney in Los Angeles right away to preserve your legal rights. Our compassionate lawyer is standing by at 310-997-0904 to schedule your free consultation.