While widespread public campaigns have informed New York drivers of the dangers of using their smartphones behind the wheel, distraction continues to pose a serious threat on the roads. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released a report comparing surveys observing drivers in 2014 and 2018 for signs of distraction while driving or stopped at red lights. They found that the overall rate of distracted driving appears to be roughly the same four years apart, but the type of distractions may vary considerably. In addition, mobile phones aren’t the only issue diverting drivers’ eyes and minds from the roads ahead.
Changing patterns of mobile device use were also reflected in the survey results. Just as texting and messaging are often the preferred means of communication rather than voice calls, the number of drivers having conversations on handheld mobile phones behind the wheel dropped between the two years. However, drivers were also 56 percent more likely to be texting, surfing the internet or emailing while driving. This is particularly concerning because manipulating a phone by hand to send a message can be far more distracting than talking on the phone. The risk of being in a fatal car accident goes up by 66 percent a driver is using a phone for non-talking tasks.
In 2017 alone, an estimated 800 people lost their lives in crashes caused by texting or surfing while driving. Of course, smartphones aren’t the sole cause of distraction; dangerous inattention can be linked to simple tasks like eating or drinking, talking to children or adjusting the radio.
Regardless of the precise causes of distracted driving, the consequences can be deadly for other people on the road. Motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted or otherwise negligent drivers can lead to catastrophic injuries. A personal injury lawyer can work with someone injured in a car crash to pursue compensation for their damages.