Texting or talking on a cellphone has been consistently linked with increased risk for accidents, according to multiple research studies. Texting and cellphone use are only two examples of distracted driving. Any activity that might divert a driver’s attention is defined as distracted driving by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Many states, including Ohio, have enacted strict distracted driving laws.
In addition to the use of cellphones or other electronic devices, eating and drinking, interacting with passengers, grooming, and reading are all distractions from driving, as defined by the NHTSA. Although these activities are listed as causes of distracted driving, the risk for accidents associated with them is not well understood.
While bans on the use of cell phones does reduce the use of electronic devices, such bans have not reduced the number of accidents. In recent years accident rates have increased even though the use of cell phones has not increased. Therefore, cell-phone bans are not likely to eliminate the risk factor of distracted driving. Other measures, such as crash avoidance technology or efforts to reduce driver distractions might be more effective in reducing accident rates.
In 2018, 2,841 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents in the United States in which distraction was found to be a contributing factor, according to national data reported by police. This number is around 8% of the total number of roadway deaths in the U.S. Around 1 percent of the total, or 385, died in accidents that involved the use of cellphones.
Whether an accident was caused by cell phone use or another distraction, a distracted driving accident can result in serious injuries, property damage, or other consequences. An experienced personal injury attorney can evaluate the circumstances of an accident and discuss potential options and outcomes with individuals who have been involved in an accident caused by distracted driving.