Phone Addicts and Distracted Driving

texting and driving pixlr

We have become a country of phone-addicted people.  And nowhere is this more true – and more dangerous – than on our nation’s roads. Some estimates place the amount of people driving while on their cell phones as high as 80 percent.

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which is when Zendrive released its 2019 research (“Public Enemy No. 1”) on distracted driving. This is the third consecutive year that the data tech and mobile app company has studied distracted drivers, and it reports that distracted driving continues to worsen year after year.

The study coins distracted driving as newer drivers’ “drunk driving” epidemic, and identified a new category of distracted drivers as “phone addicts.” It purports that the number of phone addicts doubled between 2018 and 2019, and today one out of every 12 drivers is a phone addict.

Distracted Drivers who are Phone Addicts

What type of distracted driver is a phone addict?  According to this research, today’s phone addicts:

·         Have their eyes off the road 28% of their driving time due to cell phone use

·         Touch their phones while driving four times as much as the average driver

·         Watch their phone screens six times more than the average driver

·         Are driving 1.5 times more than other drivers

The study found that peak driving times for phone addicts are the same for when most drivers are on the road: between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Because they are more numerous than drunk drivers and on the road when most other drivers are (compared to night or very early morning for drunk drivers), the study concludes distracted drivers are more dangerous than drunk drivers.

The report notes that cell phone use while driving does vary according to the time of day.  From noon to 4 p.m., about 80 percent of drivers used their cell phones behind the wheel.

Distracted driving is an epidemic that shows no sign of slowing down. These researchers looked at distracted drivers throughout the United States and found that distracted driving rose in every state compared to last year.

Distracted Drivers in Missouri

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration places Missouri in the top half of states for distracted drivers.  The number of distracted drivers in Missouri from 2013 to 2017 had the state at number 22.

Missouri’s laws for cell phone use while driving are not helping.  It and Montana are the only states that don’t entirely ban texting while driving.  In Missouri, only drivers under 21 are prohibited from this danger and careless act.

And all drivers in Missouri, even those under the age of 21, may talk on their cell phone and drive.

The Zendrive study also asked drivers for their opinions on distracted driving.  The overwhelming majority (85%) said it was a major problem.  However, nearly half also reported using their cell phone so much the researchers categorized them as “Phone Addicts.”

When drivers act negligently – such as driving and texting – and harm others, they should be held responsible. If you were seriously injured or if you lost a loved one in a car crash caused by another driver, speak with an attorney who represents victims of serious motor vehicle accidents.

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 December 17, 2019


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