The good news is that more Americans are putting their phones down when they get behind the wheel. This may be due to more laws banning driving and the use of cell phones, and increased public awareness of the dangerous practice.
The bad news is that there remain many more serious driving distractions than cell phones.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute recently released two new reports examining the dangers of distracted driving. One study reviewed the link between cell phone use and the risk of crashing. The other effort examined whether driver cell phone use increases the risk of other dangerous distractions.
According to the National Safety Council, using electronic devices such as cell phones while driving – even hands free – increases the odds of crashing four-fold. The organization says 1.5 million car accidents involve drivers using electronic devices. It estimates that 26 percent of all accidents are attributed to driver cell phone use.
So the dangers or texting while driving are real and substantial.
Dangerous Driver Behaviors
One of the new reports was based on a study that monitored driver behavior with on-board video cameras. In terms of distracting behaviors, using a cell phone was a leading culprit. However, other dangerous behaviors included when drivers weren’t on their phones:
• Drivers talking to passengers
• Drivers adjusting radio or climate controls
• Driver talking or singing alone
All of these activities can take a driver’s eyes and concentration off the road, leading to a catastrophic fatal car accident. In fact, the researchers concluded these other dangerous driving behaviors are just as distracting as cell phone use. While most drivers are aware of the dangers of texting and driving, they don’t necessarily feel the same about the other distracting actions.
Regardless of the cause, when a driver takes his eyes off the road, such negligent behavior can critically injure others. Attorneys who handle cases of fatal motor vehicle accidents determine who is responsible for a catastrophic crash and pursue just compensation for the victims and their families.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.