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 & Funt, P.A., 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.