Despite Increased Awareness and Laws, Number of Distracted Driving Crashes Continue To Rise
Sometime people just don’t know what’s good for them.
That seems to be the conclusion of a recent research study regarding distracted driving and car accidents completed by the School of Public Health at West Virginia University. The report of the study is published in this month’s Journal of the American Medical Association.
According to the new research, the numbers of car crashes and fatalities attributed to cell phone use while driving has continued to increase since 2003. This despite the fact that 39 states have passed laws banning (at least some) cell phone use while driving, and most people acknowledge that distracted driving is dangerous.
Most of these crashes involve younger drivers – because they are more likely to be chronic cell phone users, and because they are also the most inexperienced drivers. Researchers actually expect the number of crashes to become worse before it shows any improvement. “Still, I do believe there will be a point where these numbers will level off. It will take long-term and concerted efforts, as have been employed with encouraging seat belt use and discouraging drunk driving,” said Motao Zhu, M.D., Ph.D., one of the study’s authors.
In my Florida automobile accident law practice, our experience is very consistent with these research results. We very regularly meet with people who have been injured by other drivers who are texting, talking on their cell phones, checking emails, and even surfing the internet.
The authors of the new research think technology should be used to shape driver behaviors. They favor systems built into cars that will make cell phones operable only in a hands-free mode. Already, most smartphones have apps available that turn off certain cell phone functions when the car is in motion. However, as an Orlando car accident attorney who investigates hundreds of automobile crashes every year, I have yet to find a Defendant who was using such an app.
If you have any questions regarding a Florida car accident, call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen or Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901.