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Report: Drivers' Attitudes About Cell Phone Use and Driving Do Not Appear to Be Improving

Our Virginia personal injury law firm has been writing about the dangers of distracted driving for years. We have shared countless articles about how deadly engaging in distracted driving behaviors can be. We have also successfully represented many victims whose lives were changed dramatically because of the carelessness of a distracted driver, and families who lost loved ones because a driver could not stop texting and driving.

Despite all the warnings from safety advocates, government agencies, and changes in state laws, drivers still continue to allow their focus to come off the road and onto their electronic device, GPS, CD player, or activity. And the number of injured victims that result from these distractions continues to grow.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 3,000 people are killed each year in distracted driving accidents, and thousands more are left seriously injured. The NHTSA also reports that distracted driving is responsible for at least 25 percent of all car accidents that occur each year. It is suspected that number is actually much higher as many at-fault drivers do not admit they were engaged in other activity other than driving when the crash occurred.

NSC Study

Recently, the National Safety Council (NSC) published the results of a study they conducted regarding cell phone use while driving, Understanding Driver Distraction: How Banning Use of Cell Phones and Interactive In-Vehicle Technology While Driving Can Save Lives.

The results of surveys conducted for the study were alarming:

  • Sixty percent of drivers admitted to talking on a hands-free cell phone while they drive
  • Forty-nine percent of drivers admitted to talking on a hand-held cell phone while they drive
  • Forty-four percent of drivers admitted to reading texts or emails while they drive
  • Thirty-four percent of drivers admitted to sending texts or emails while they drive

Given all that is know about the hazards of cell phone use while driving, these numbers are a strong indicator that many drivers still do are not heeding that message.

Are Vehicle Manufacturers Part of the Solution or Part of the Problem?

Another area of great concern for the study’s researchers is the role vehicle manufacturers may have when it comes to encouraging drivers to communicate through electronic devices instead of discouraging it.

When a driver is behind the wheel of a car, they must stay focused on the road and focused on operating their vehicle. It has been proven time and time again that a driver who is even just talking on their cell phone is not fully engaged in driving. The human brain is not capable of this type of multi-tasking. Instead, the brain switches back and forth from one activity to the other. And this is how distracted driving accidents happen.

Yet, instead of working on designs that would help prevent a driver from being distracted by their phones, vehicle manufacturers keep coming up with newer ways that allow the driver to circumvent cell phone driving laws by connecting their cell phones to an in-vehicle infotainment system (IVIS) console or the steering wheel. Using a cell phone through an IVIS still causes the brain to switch back and forth. The brain is not fully focused on scanning the road and watching out for other vehicles, pedestrians, and other hazards, and using IVIS will still result in distracted driving accidents.

Let a Virginia Injury Attorney Help

If you have been injured in a crash caused by a driver who was texting and driving or some other distracted driving behavior, contact a Virginia car accident attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have. The legal team from Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn has been advocating for injured clients since 1985 and will do all we can to ensure you receive the financial compensation you may be entitled to for the losses your injuries have caused. Call our office today at 800-752-0042 to schedule a free case evaluation.




Richard N. Shapiro
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Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia