According to national statistics, nine people are killed each day in distracted driving crashes, and another 1,000 victims are injured. Cell phone use is often cited as one of the main factors in distracted drivers.
There have been many studies and articles written about the dangers of teenagers texting and driving. One study, however, found that older drivers who text and drive may be more dangerous behind the wheel than teens who text and drive are.
The study was conducted by researchers from Wayne State University and published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention. The study took a group of participants who were between the ages of 18 and 59 years of age and had them text while in a driving simulator. All participants owned smartphones and were proficient at one-handed texting. Approximately 50 percent of all participants simulated swerving into other lanes while texting and driving. However, it was the breakdown of the ages of those who crossed lanes that shocked researchers.
The results of those lane excursions by age group were:
- One hundred percent of drivers between the ages of 45 and 59 years old swerved into other lanes while texting
- Eighty percent of drivers between the ages of 35 and 44 years old swerved into other lanes while texting
- Forty percent of drivers between the ages of 25 and 34 years old swerved into other lanes while texting
- Twenty-five percent of drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 years old swerved into other lanes while texting
The lead researcher of the study, Randall Commissaris, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, at Wayne, said in a statement that most people are surprised by the results because of the perception that younger drivers are more susceptible to distractions than older, more experienced drivers. These results show just the opposite. That, said Commissaris, could be a result of the decrease in the ability to manage cognitive demands of multitasking that occurs as we age.
Not Just Texting
Other studies have found that a driver doesn’t even have to engage in texting in order for it to be dangerous. Just the notifications alone are enough to cause a driver to take their eyes and focus off the road.
That study was conducted at the University of Florida. The results showed that for many drivers, the thought that someone was trying to reach them – whether by phone, text, or email – is as dangerously distracting as engaging in a texting conversation. In fact, receiving notification resulted in study participants being three times more likely in making a mistake in a driving task than a driver who did not receive any alerts. This is three times more likely even though the drivers did not respond to the notification.
Contact a Hampton Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, contact an experienced Hampton, VA car accident attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have against the at-fault driver. Under Virginia law, you may be entitled to collect financial compensation for all medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and any other losses the injury you suffered has caused you. Keep in mind, however, there is a statute of limitations on how long you have to file your accident claim.
Call Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp today to schedule a free case evaluation and find out what legal options you may have.