Recent Study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
In this study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, researchers documented an almost 6 times greater risk of accident when drivers were dialing a phone and 23 times greater risk when texting. Similarly, other studies show that automobile drivers using a phone are 4 times more likely to crash than drivers not using a phone. This is comparable to drivers with blood-alcohol content of 0.08, the legal definition for drunk driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 240,000 car crashes and 955 deaths occurred in 2003 due to cell phone use. This may be an underestimation of the true number since it is particularly challenging for police and crash investigators to identify cell phone use as a factor contributing to a crash or death.
Knowing this, the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis estimated that cell phone use was a factor in 6 percent of crashes in 2003. That estimation translated to 636,000 crashes involving 12,000 major injuries and 2,600 deaths. Similar statistics for other common driver distractions such as eating, grooming, reading, and smoking have not been extensively studied.
Multiple Driver Distractions
Distractions, however, are caused by more than just cell phones and texting devices. In 2001, the University of North Carolina’s Highway Safety Research Center conducted a “naturalistic” study where 70 drivers were video-recorded for 10 hours in a week and observed for the types of activities they engaged in while operating their vehicles. The subsequent report showed that during 15 percent of the time drivers were engaged in an active conversation with passengers while driving their vehicles; 5 percent of the time they were preparing, eating, or spilling food; 4 percent of the time they were reaching or leaning; 2 percent of the time they were smoking; 1 percent of the time they were using a cell phone; and 1 percent of the time they were adjusting the radio / CD / music device controls.
In the same year, another study used video clips of 36 drivers to delineate the types of activities (other than driving) that drivers participate in. They found 15 percent of the clips showed drivers talking to passengers, 7 percent showed the drivers grooming, and 5 percent showed the driver using a cell phone.
The Rise of Accidents Due to Cell Phone Distraction
Accidents caused by drivers on cell phones are on the rise. Often times these accidents can lead to devastating injuries or even death.
At our firm, we take seriously accidents caused by cell phone distractions. When drivers pay more attention to their phones than they do the road, they put all of us at risk. When they cause injury, they deserve to pay for the damages they cause based upon their poor choices.
Call us to find out how we will represent you and seek to hold drivers distracted by their cell phones accountable for the damages and injury they cause. Contact us today to schedule a free no obligation consultation.