Study Finds Cell Phone Use While Driving on the Rise in California
When you’re behind the wheel of a car or truck, you need to focus on one thing: driving. If you choose to send a text, check Facebook or email or even talk on the phone, you are increasing your chances of causing a car accident and harming yourself or some other innocent person sharing the road. Los Angeles car accident attorney Brian Brandt sees the devastation caused by texting while driving on a daily basis. He advocates for strong educational and safety initiatives.
While the dangers of distracted driving – particularly using cell phones behind the wheel – are well known and well documented, many Californians continue to take risks that can have deadly consequences.
According to a recent study conducted on behalf of the California Office of Traffic Safety, at least 10 percent of all drivers are distracted by their phones – which is an almost 40 percent increase from behavior observed in 2014. The Los Angeles Times, which recently reported on the new study, quoted a representative of the agency who noted that the real number of drivers distracted by phones is actually about 20 percent. That’s 1 in 5 drivers who are typing, talking or looking at their phones while operating their vehicles. The number may be higher than reported because the study was conducted by people who looked at passing cars. Some drivers may have been using phones without being detected.
Some Drivers Don’t Take Cell Phone Laws Seriously
Some drivers clearly ignore California’s ban on using handheld phones. The state also prohibits drivers under 18 from using hands-free phones. Texting while driving also is illegal in California.
According to anecdotal evidence reported by the L.A. Times, many drivers believe they won’t get pulled over for breaking the cell phone laws, and they don’t think they will get in an accident.
But these drivers are simply not facing reality if they think they won’t cause a car crash. The facts reveal a grim picture of the impact of this type of distracted driving. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that 3,154 died in motor vehicle accidents in 2013. About 424,000 distracted driving-related injuries were reported.
Between 300 and 400 people die each year in California because of drivers distracted by phones, according to estimates reported by the Times.
Technology and Cognitive Distractions
As the automobile industry markets new cars with the latest state-of-the-art technology for communicating or navigating, drivers are facing more and more high-tech distractions. These include in-dash systems that help drivers navigate, listen to music and speak to send text messages. A 2014 study from AAA and University of Utah found that many in-dash phone systems are overly complicated and may cause cognitive distractions. That means you may be looking at the road, but your mind is focused on the in-dash system.
To help keep California roadways safe, avoid all distractions, including using cell phones while behind the wheel. If you need to use the phone or your car’s in-dash system while on the road, pull over to a safe location. The stakes are too high to take chances with your life and the lives of others.
If you or a loved one was injured or died in an accident because of a distracted driver, contact The Law Offices of Brian Brandt for a free consultation. Call 800.983.4467 or visit www.brianbrandt.com. Serving the injured in Los Angeles, Orange County, Inland Empire and throughout Southern California.