We have all heard that distracted driving is on the rise. From cellphones to GPS devices, our cars have become mini entertainment systems, barreling down the street. Today’s drivers surf the Internet, listen to Podcasts, navigate around town, and answer emails all without ever leaving their vehicles. However, all of these new dangerous driving diversions are leading to some serious and catastrophic accidents. In fact, according to a report released by the National Safety Council, an estimated 38,300 people died in car accidents last year, making 2015 the most deadly year on U.S. roads since 2008.
The NSC believes that increased employment and a stronger economy were significant contributing factors. Together with gas prices being down 28% from 2014, drivers felt motivated to travel 3.5 percent more last year. Especially the South Atlantic region of the country- that area racked up more miles than any other part of the country.
One could argue that more cars on the road and more miles traveled naturally lends itself to more accidents. But does it have to be that way? KOLO-TV in Reno, Nevada doesn’t think so.
The television station compiled a report claiming that cell phones are the primary culprit.
We’ve all heard that texting while driving increases our chances of being in an accident by almost 8 times, and that cell phone use accounts for over one-quarter of all car crashes. In their report. KOLO goes on to cite an AT&T survey in which 7 out of ten people confessed to using their smartphones while driving. The breakdown of use contains the expected applications. However, some interesting ones appeared as well:
In addition, 27% of the people who shoot video while they are driving believe they can do so safely. Nearly one-third of those who Tweet while behind the wheel admit to doing “it all the time.” Of those drivers who access social networks, 22 percent of them do so because they say they are addicted to it.
KOLO interviewed a Reno police officer as part of their report on the dangers of distracted driving. He was asked if he thought cell phone use and driving would ever become as taboo as drinking and driving. In, perhaps, a demonstration of our society’s compulsion with staying in touch, the officer replied that he hoped it would not. He elaborated, saying the advances in automotive technology and use of Bluetooth would hopefully making cell phone use and driving a safer combination.
There is abundant research, however, showing that even hands-free talking is no less dangerous. Research conducted by State Farm and AAA found that voice control systems and hands free devices may not be much better when it comes to preventing distracted driving accidents. Drivers using hands free devices must place their cognitive focus on the device, what they are saying, and saying it in a way that is understood. Cognitive distraction is every bit as dangerous as other types of distractions because the driver is not really aware of his or her surroundings. Interpreting the changes in traffic patterns are difficult when the driver’s cognitive focus is elsewhere.
It seems that public safety advocates and legislators have a difficult battle ahead of them when driving and talking on the phone is so engrained in our society that our vehicles are built to actually facilitate the activity. Even worse, more adults are engaging in distracted driving than ever before. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a study in which they discovered that 69% of all drivers ages 18 to 64 had talked on their cell phones in the past thirty days. Furthermore, 31% of drivers 18 to 24 years old reported they had texted while driving in the last 30 days.
If a distracted driver injures you or someone you love in an accident, it is important to contact an experienced Denver car accident lawyer immediately. Your attorney will need to actively investigate the accident and determine who is truly to blame for your injuries. Contact the law firm of Fuicelli & Lee, PC, for a free case evaluation. You pay nothing unless you receive a financial settlement or award. Call our office at 303-355-7202 or fill out our confidential contact form.
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