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Distracted drivers put everyone at risk

On Behalf of | Oct 19, 2020 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

There is a lot going on in today’s world, and focusing on just one thing at a time might feel impossible at times. But no matter how hard it may feel, you know just how important it is to pay attention while driving. Unfortunately, this does not change the fact that there are distracted drivers all over Pennsylvania roads.

Phones are a huge distraction for a lot of people. It is not just about texting either. Researchers have shown that any type of phone use behind the wheel is dangerous. Putting your phone out of reach while driving could be helpful, but it does not appear as if many are willing to make the effort.

Phones make driving riskier

Research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that texting or otherwise manipulating a phone drastically increases the risk of causing an accident. In a study where researchers observed more than 3,000 drivers, drivers who were physically manipulating a cellphone without any other distractions were as much as six times more likely to crash. Drivers younger than 30 and older than 64 had the highest risk.

The dangers of texting and driving have also been documented in simulated research. These experiments use tools such as driving simulators and instrumented vehicles to examine driving habits. For example, 28 different experimental studies show that reading or typing a text message can have the following effects:

  • Slows reaction time
  • Increases lane deviations
  • Increases time spent not looking at road

What about phone bans?

Bans against using hand held devices while driving have grown in popularity, but are they effective? The IIHS has collected research that shows bans do reduce the number of drivers using their phones but that they do not improve crash rates. So even as cellphone use has gone down over recent years, crash rates have actually gone up.

This is partly because drivers may just swap out one distraction for another. Distracted drivers may instead turn their attention to eating, drinking, personal grooming or any number of other behaviors. Bans are particularly ineffective for young drivers too.

It is more than phones

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving is really anything that takes a driver’s attention off of the task at hand. This is not to downplay the serious role that cellphones play in the distracted driving problem though. Instead, it is important to understand that distractions can be a wide range of behaviors, many of which may be hard to spot.

Distracted drivers can be held responsible for their actions when they harm another person. In your case, this may mean that you are considering pursuing a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If so, you may want to work with an experienced lawyer who can carefully guide you through this complex legal process.