A recent study conducted by a branch of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that texting-and-driving has not dipped since 2010. In fact, it seems like some bad habits – such as young drivers using cell phones while behind the wheel – are actually on the rise.
Bad Driving Behavior
In 2011, about 660,000 people in the United States, at any moment on a regular weekday, were talking on their mobile phone while in the driver’s seat. But it’s not just talking on a cell phone that is putting drivers, passengers, and anyone on the road in danger. Double those 660,000 people were engaging with a mobile device by texting, emailing, checking the calendar, or mapping a route.
It was also found that teens and young adults were more likely to be texting or emailing while driving than people age 30 and older. A 22-year-old college student lost his life earlier this month when he allowed his car to drift into oncoming traffic because he was writing a text – his parents released the texts to serve as a warning to anyone who chooses to read or type on their phone while driving.
The Stats About Distracted Driving
Plenty of things are happening in cars because of cell phones when drivers should have their eyes on the road. But there are other reasons that auto accidents occur, beyond smartphones or electronic devices like a GPS or satellite radio. Daydreaming was actually singled out as the leading cause of fatal car crashes in this nation – 62 percent of 65,000 auto accidents surveyed involved drivers who were “lost in thought,” according to the Erie Insurance Group.
Ten states have made it illegal to use a cell phone while driving, and texting while driving is banned in 39 states, including Michigan. Laws against electronic device usage is even beginning to extend to apps with a California court ruling that it’s unacceptable to use any app, even a map app, while driving unless it is hands-free.
Putting an End to Cell Phones in Cars
Not so long ago, sitting in your car used to be a time to get away from it all, to listen to the radio and enjoy being disconnected from the office or life in general. Now we are always connected, even when we shouldn’t be. And auto accidents are often the result.
A survey by the NHTSA last year revealed that 74 percent of drivers support bans on phones while driving, 94 percent supported a texting ban, and those surveyed supported fines for distracted driving. Even though people are aware of their own bad habits, it still seems that legal action is necessary to stop dangerous behavior.
Be safe. Put the phone away when you get behind the wheel. And if you or a loved one has been affected by a distracted driving auto accident, contact Femminineo Attorneys PLLC to discuss your case with Michigan personal injury attorney David C. Femminineo.