New Study Finds Drivers Are Distracted More Than Half the Time
Distracted driving is a problem of epic proportions across the United States. Researchers at Virginia Tech Transportation Institute published a report that shows Americans are distracted more than 50 percent of the time they are behind the wheel. In 70 percent of all crashes studied, the authors detected an observable distraction, such as texting or talking on the phone. This suggests the actual number of distracted drivers is likely even higher because drivers can be distracted by unobservable things, such as simple daydreaming.
Distracted driving claims the lives of thousands of people across the country each year. At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we believe distracted driving is a tremendous issue that needs the attention of the entire nation to correct. We sponsor a number of campaigns aimed to stop distracted driving. In honor of Distracted Driving month, we continue our look at the high rate of distracted driving and how we can combat this dangerous practice.
Cell Phones Raise Accident Rates
The primary reason for the increase in distracted driving in recent years is the advent of the smartphone. While distraction has always existed among drivers, the cell phone heightened the temptation for drivers to multi-task. A ringing cell phone, incoming text, or burning question for Google can prove irresistible for many drivers, particularly the younger generation.
In the Virginia Tech study, researchers tracked more than 3,500 drivers who agreed to have cameras attached to their vehicles, along with sensors and radars. Researchers examined driver behavior not only surrounding car accidents, but also during each trip. The study revealed some alarming statistics:
- Just dialing a phone increased the risk of a crash by 12 times, compared to drivers who were alert and not distracted;
- Drivers texted at high rates and texting led to hundreds of accidents;
- Talking on the phone doubled accident rates.
Cell phones were not things that caused drivers to lose their focus. Talking to other passengers increased the risk of an accident, as did driving while upset or emotionally compromised. Drivers were also observed eating, applying makeup, and engaging in other distracting behaviors behind the wheel.
Vow to Put Down Your Cell Phone in Honor of Distracted Driving Awareness Month
April is Distracted Driving Awareness month, and we challenge all drivers to take the pledge to put away their cell phones while driving. Texting, calling, and the like is simply not worth the risk to your life and the lives of those around you. Make a positive change today and stow your cell phone while driving.
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