A new study shows that drivers continue to use their cell phones at an alarming rate. In fact, drivers are using their cell phones to text, navigate, talk, and engage in social media during 88 percent of their car trips.
The company ZenDrive has developed a cell phone app that measures cell phone use while driving, including frequency and duration of usage. The “Distracted Driving Behavior Report” study gathered and analyzed cell phone usage data from 3.1 million drivers, covering 570 million trips and 5.6 billion miles, over a three-month period between December 2016 and February 2017. This was the largest distracted driving study ever conducted.
Distracted driving is the leading cause of car accidents in the U.S., claiming 3,477 lives in 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Thousands more are injured, some suffering serious, life-altering injuries that require long term medical care.
Research shows that the average time it takes a person to read or compose a text message is less than four seconds. While that does not sound like much time, a driver travelling 55 miles per hour will cover the length of a football field without seeing anything on the road. The complete lack of attention in that few seconds is what often leads to serious car accidents.
Using a cell phone while driving is not only distracting and dangerous, causing or contributing to far too many traffic fatalities, it is also illegal in many states, including Pennsylvania. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, it is illegal to use your cell phone while driving to send or receive texts, emails, or messages. Moreover, Pennsylvania lawmakers have made texting while driving a primary offense in the state. That means an officer can pull over and ticket a driver seen using a handheld device without having to witness the driver committing any other moving violation. It is not illegal to make phone calls while driving, but a using a hands-free device is recommended. Nonetheless, even hands-free cell phone use increases the risk of a car accident.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that approximately one in five drivers has been involved in a serious car accident necessitating transport of driver and/or passengers to the hospital and one in nine has been seriously injured in a crash. Recent public opinion research undertaken by the foundation indicates that most drivers consider texting or emailing while driving a serious threat to their personal safety.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, our experienced Delaware County car accident lawyers are prepared to help you. At Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C., we will assist you when a car accident causes injury, damage to your car, lost wages, insurance disputes, or other issues. Contact us online or call our West Chester or Media, Pennsylvania offices at 610-565-3700 to schedule a free consultation.