We’ve all seen it. People driving with one hand and holding a cellphone in the other one.
The dangers of distracted driving due to cellphones have been widely reported in recent years.
That message doesn’t seem to be getting through. Instead of fewer people using their cellphones while driving, the problem is only getting worse, according to a recent study that sadly comes as no surprise to our distracted driving attorneys.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently released the findings of its cellphone use while driving survey. The IIHS observed the number of people using cellphones while driving in 2018. Those survey results were then compared to findings from a similar study conducted by the IIHS in 2014.
Comparing the two studies, the percentage of drivers observed using a cellphone while driving increased by 57 percent – from 2.3 percent in 2014 to 3.4 percent in 2018. Even more disturbing, the drivers observed in 2018 using a cellphone “were less likely to be seen simply holding a cellphone or talking on a hand-held phone than in the prior survey,” according to a January 2019 IIHS article about the study.
In other words, the drivers observed in 2018 using their cellphones were texting or looking up information on their phones while they were driving.
“The finding is consistent with research indicating that drivers are talking on hand-held phones less and fiddling with them more often than in recent years,” according to the IIHS.
Thousands of people die each year in auto accidents nationwide. According to the latest annual statistics, 37,133 people died in motor vehicle accidents in 2017, according to accident data compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Based on such statistics, the IIHS estimates that more than 800 traffic fatalities in 2017 can be attributed to drivers operating their cellphone while driving. Overall, distracted driving each year accounts for more than 3,450 deaths, according to the NHTSA.
The problem keeps getting worse every year.
“We know it’s (distracted driving) happening even though distracted driving data is hard to come by,” Deborah Hersman, CEO of the National Safety Council, said in an interview with CNBC. “Police reports on accidents often don’t report if the driver was distracted and, in many accidents, people don’t self-report.”
Know your rights
Distracted driving accidents might seem straightforward. Another driver wasn’t paying attention when they caused an accident. The reality is many distracted driving crashes often turn out to be far more complicated.
The main reason why? Distracted drivers often deny being distracted at the time of the accident. Instead, they often point the finger at anyone but themselves, especially the other driver. Insurance companies often gladly accept such an explanation.
If you or loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, it’s important to talk with an attorney who understands the law and the legal system in your state as soon as possible. That’s why we encourage you to contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm right away. We handle cases in Alabama, Maryland, Mississippi, West Virginia and Washington, DC.