Without a doubt, distracted driving is increasingly a major factor in motor vehicle accidents. A large part of this epidemic involves the use of cell phones while driving. In 2017, no less than 800 people lost their lives in accidents in which a driver was using a cell phone.
In a survey conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in 2018, cell phone use increased around 57% from the levels revealed in a similar survey conducted in 2014. Further, by the time of the second survey, people were using their phones less for calls and more for other purposes.
Estimating the cell phone risk factor in an accident
It probably wouldn’t surprise you to know that not many people will admit to using their cell phones while driving, especially after an accident. What may surprise you is to know that the risk of being involved in a fatal crash increases by around 66% when using a cell phone. This is astonishingly high, even when compared with other distracting behaviors.
The primary reason the risk rises so much lies in the fact that people tend to take their minds, eyes and hands off the task of driving in order to use the internet, send or receive texts, or even dial their phones. Your ability to scan the road for problems and obstacles greatly diminishes during these activities. Even talking on the phone poses a risk, but at least your eyes remain on the road. Although, drivers tend to get tunnel vision and only pay attention to the center of the road.
Cell phones aren’t the only things distracting drivers
Cell phones rightly receive a lot of attention when it comes to distracted driving, but they aren’t the only behaviors that take your attention off the road. Other distractions include the following:
- Talking or singing
- Drinking or eating
- Manipulating systems within the vehicle
- Using electronic devices other than a cell phone
- Reaching for something
- Wearing earbuds or headphones
- Putting on glasses
- Adjusting the sun visor
- Reading printed material
Perhaps you have been known to do one or more of these things while driving. If so, you join many others here in Kentucky and around the country who do. However, the “everyone else is doing it” mentality leads to more and more accidents in which innocent people suffer serious injuries or die.
If you are one of the innocent people who suffer injuries due to a distracted driver, you may be able to pursue compensation for the financial losses you sustained because someone else failed to pay attention to the road — probably because he or she was using a cell phone in some way at the time.