Smartphones Contribute to Distracted Driving, Right?

A person's confidence in his or her own skills paired with the convenience of mobile phones make talking or texting while driving a nearly unavoidable temptation. It’s hard to remember the days when it wasn't possible to instantly update your ETA to a friend, find a different route when you make a wrong turn, or take that important business call. While multitasking can be an effective use of time, it’s typically a bad behavior to indulge in when behind the wheel. In this communication age, studies suggest that cell phones have significantly increased the number of distraction-related accidents. In fact, Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT) studied hundreds of thousands of drivers and concluded that more than half of all trips that resulted in a crash included a cell phone-related distraction. The question, however, is not whether cell phones are distracting, but rather, why aren't we well on our way to fixing this problem?

Another study has been released showing that being distracted by a cell phone was at least partly involved in more than half of all trips that ended in a crash. Yet, some businesses and agencies are still reluctant to tie crashes or traffic fatalities to smartphone use.

CMT suggests that simply creating and enforcing laws that restrict phone use while driving have not helped much. For example, Washington was the first state to ban texting while driving, yet in the decade that has passed, it still has not reached the top 10 safest driving states. Further, CMT’s data shows that drivers in states that ban all handheld cell phone use spend an average of 3.17 minutes on the phone per 100 miles. The drivers in states without such laws spend only slightly more time on the phone, clocking at 3.82 minutes. In the states that ban use for minors, the average time is 3.25 minutes.

CMT's proposal, like many other companies with driving apps, is to fight fire with fire by using smartphones to modify human behavior and help turn us into better drivers. That means trusting drivers to actually use information to analyze their own behaviors and actively improve upon them. CMT groups data into categories of behavior, including speeding, braking, acceleration, phone use while driving, cornering, and time of driving, then shares that information with the user. Its DriveWell service reportedly has reduced distraction by 35 percent after one month, and by 40 percent after two months.

However, there are concerns that government and big business (wireless companies, automakers, etc.) don't want to interfere with the public’s addiction to smartphones. They cite studies blaming increased highway fatalities on other types of human error as well as on a predictable pattern involving fluctuations in fuel prices and the economy. Certainly, making changes that ultimately take privileges away from phone-loving motorists wouldn’t be a smooth path, but the right thing to do is rarely the most popular.

If you or someone you love has been injured by someone who chose to drive while distracted, you need an experienced attorney to effectively represent your interests. At Stabinski Law, we have successfully represented victims throughout Florida who have been seriously hurt by negligent drivers. We have also assisted families who have lost loved ones in traffic accidents. For over 45 years, we have been helping injured motorists, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists put their lives back on track and we are ready to help you. For advice on how to proceed next, or if you have any questions about this topic, call 305-643-3100 or fill out a free case evaluation form.

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