Cellphone Usage and Distracted Driving

When you think about it, driving is probably the most dangerous thing we do on a daily basis. When you get in your car, you’re putting a lot of faith in your own abilities and the abilities in the drivers around you. But having a drivers’ license certainly doesn’t make one a good driver. And even if you are a generally good driver, there are a number of factors that could make you a bad driver. Among these factors are road conditions and distracted driving.

Driving requires your full attention in every situation to remain as safe as possible. Distracted driving, even in light traffic on the sunniest day, is dangerous. Many people, however, don’t fully understand distracted driving, thinking only of texting or talking while driving. This isn’t the case, however. Distractions are anything that diverts your full focus from driving. It could be as simple as changing the radio, even if you’re able to keep your eyes on the road while doing so.

Here are some different types of distractions according to the official US government site for distracted driving:

  • texting
  • using a cell phone
  • reading, including maps
  • adjusting a radio or other audio device
  • grooming, including putting on make-up
  • eating and drinking (something many of us do!)
  • talking to passengers

What are the chances one of these activities could result in an accident? Pretty significant, actually.

Cell phone usage is one of the greatest perpetrators of accidents from distracted driving. It’s no wonder this is such a pervasive problem, as approximately 660,000 drivers use their drivers at any given moment across America. An NHTSA study showed among drivers 15-19 years old, 21 percent of those involved in distraction-related fatal crashes were distracted by cell phones. A 2006 study from the University of Utah showed that drivers who use handheld or hands-free cell phones can be as impaired as drunken drivers at the legal alcohol limit of 0.08 BAC. The driving styles may be different among the two states, but the impairment is similar. The study also found hands-free devices caused just as much distraction as handheld ones. They also determined motorists distracted through cell phone usage were 5.36 times more likely to get in an accident than their undistracted counterparts.

Another study from VTTI showed visual-manual subtasks while driving (reaching for a phone, dialing, texting), increased the risk of getting into a crash by three times. Another study from the same source showed people divert their eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds when they receive a text. At 55-mph, that’s the equivalent of driving the length of a football field blind.

With numbers like that, it’s a wonder we ever get in our cars! The increasing number of auto accidents means an increase in accident-related injuries. If you’ve been the victim of such an injury, you’ll probably need to turn somewhere for help. Bachus & Schanker is a leader in auto accident injury cases in the state of Colorado, and we’re happy to help. If you or a loved one has experienced an injury due to a distracted-driving or other auto accident, please contact us so we can help.