Is Distracted Driving on the Rise?

texting and driving pixlr

Distracted driving is a known cause of serious motor vehicle crashes.  Unfortunately, a recent report indicates that distracted driving is on the rise.

In March Travelers Insurance released its “2021 Travelers Risk Index,” a survey of drivers that focused on distracted driving. It found a higher level of distracted drivers on the roads now as compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic, based on its “2020 Travelers Risk Index” survey.

Drivers Using Cell Phones

The survey responses indicate a significant uptick in dangerous driving as:

·         26% said they have texted or emailed while driving (19% before the pandemic)

·         20% said they have checked social media while driving (13% before the pandemic)

·         19% said they have taken videos and photos while driving (10% before the pandemic)

·         17% said they shopped online while driving (8% before the pandemic)

A portion of the 1,000 people surveyed  included business managers. Their responses may help partially explain this year’s increase in distracted driving.  Almost half of them (48%) said they expected their employees to respond frequently to their calls, emails or texts.

One-quarter of those surveyed said they did handle work-related phone calls and texts while driving.  Almost a third of those respondents said they did so because they were worried their boss would be upset if they ignored the messages.

The most recent report on distracted driving from the U.S. Department of Transportation documents the deadly consequences of distracted driving.  “Distracted Driving 2019” data shows that:

·         9% of fatal motor vehicle accidents were “distraction-affected”

·         3,142 people were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers

·         6% of drivers involved in fatal car and truck accidents were distracted at the time of the crash

Speeding Missouri Drivers

Last year, when the pandemic was at its peak, there were fewer drivers on the road.  But even with fewer drivers on the road police in Missouri and across the country reported an increase in speeding drivers.  Those drivers may have carelessly taken advantage of the open roads.

The National Safety Council estimates that more people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2020 – 42,060 - than in any year since 2007.  That represents an 8% jump in traffic fatalities over 2019.

And all of this occurred while the number of miles driven in 2020 dropped some 13% compared to 2019, according to the NSC.

We have more drivers on the road today compared to last year.  But the Travelers survey is one indication that the rate of dangerous behaviors such as distracted driving may still remain high.

When announcing its estimates of 2020 fatal motor vehicle crashes, the NSC issued a series of recommendations to reduce traffic accident deaths.  One of them is laws that ban all cell phone use while behind the wheel.

Missouri’s distracted driving laws are relatively light.  Missouri is one of two states that do not completely ban texting and driving.  Only those 21 or younger are forbidden from texting while driving in Missouri, yet they can talk on a cell phone.

If you had a loved one die in a crash with a distracted driver, speak with a personal injury lawyer about pursuing fair and just compensation for your tragic loss.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.

Authored by Gray Ritter Graham, posted in Blog July 28, 2021


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