Thompson Law Group, P.C.

New research indicates distracted driving goes beyond phone use


One of the most common causes of a car accident in Pennsylvania and across the nation is a distracted driver. While this is commonly perceived as having to do with a driver manipulating a smartphone while behind the wheel, there are other ways in which a driver can become distracted. Despite nearly all 50 states putting some form of legislation into effect to curb distracted driving, people still do it. Because there are around 3,500 fatalities and 390,000 injuries due to distracted drivers, the problem is massive. A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety seeks to understand this phenomenon and reduce its frequency.

The author of the study says that the litany of ways in which a driver can use onboard systems could serve as distractions that are just as, if not more, dangerous than smartphone use. The study was conducted along with the University of Utah. In the testing, they used systems that were installed when the vehicle was constructed and those that were installed later. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay were found to be safer than manufacturer installed systems.

When making a call, drivers who used Android and Apple returned their eyes to the road five seconds sooner than they did when using the system installed at the factory. In a separate survey that it conducted without outside assistance, AAA found that 58 percent of drivers believed that those who talked on cellphones while driving compromised the safety of others in a very serious way. 78 percent felt texting and driving was significantly dangerous. This, while around half said they made calls when driving. 35 percent said they texted or emailed. An insurance company study found that up to 80 percent of drivers used their device when behind the wheel. 33 percent said texting was a major distraction for them. One-quarter used social media, and 20 percent said they checked their phones once every half-hour when driving.

Any distraction can be dangerous even if it is legal and the idea was to improve safety by stopping people from texting, making phone calls and using the internet behind the wheel. The reality is that drivers will continue to be distracted and cause accidents. These, in turn, can result in injuries, high medical bills and wrongful death. The key to seeking compensation after motor vehicle accident injuries is to have a full investigation.

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