Ohio does not ban hand-held phone conversations among drivers, but it does ban texting for all drivers and all phone use for drivers younger than 18. This is important to know because phone use behind the wheel is a prominent factor in auto accidents. The reason is that phone use diverts one’s attention from the road: in other words, causes distracted driving.
Back in 2018, the National Center for Statistics and Analysis conducted an observational survey of drivers stopped at intersections across the country. Researchers found 3.2% of the drivers to be talking on their cell phones during those moments. This was regardless of the time of day. The federal government, combining this with other data on hands-free and handheld phone use, estimates that 9.7% of drivers are using a hands-free or handheld phone at any given moment in the day.
Similar observation surveys have found that phone use is increasing among young drivers in particular. The NCSA discovered that 1.1% of drivers aged 16 to 24 manipulated their phones in 2009 whereas the percentage rose to 4.2% in 2018.
Whether phone use raises the risk for a crash is still unclear. What’s clear is that phone use is only one of many possible distractions. Eating, drinking, looking at a billboard and talking with passengers can all constitute a distraction.
Distracted driving is negligent since drivers are not upholding their duty to keep themselves and others on the road safe. A distracted driving crash can form the basis for a personal injury case, then. Victims who are not more than 50% to blame may pursue such a case, but they may not want to do so without legal representation. Auto insurance companies can aggressively deny a claim or force plaintiffs to accept less in compensatory damages than they deserve.