Mobile devices have become an integral part of many people's lives in California and elsewhere. That does not mean, however, that using them does not pose some risk, especially when a person uses them while driving. In recent years, incidents and accidents associated with distracted driving have increased substantially, and many state and federal agencies have published some grim statistics regarding cell phone use behind the wheel.
Data published from 2013 shows that over 36 percent of California residents believe that distracted driving due to cell phone use (either through texting or talking) is the biggest safety issue facing those on the roads. Additionally, almost 48 percent believe that texting while driving poses a serious distraction, and 45 percent of those surveyed claimed that they have made driving mistakes while texting or talking on their phones.
What's more, around 70 percent of those surveyed stated that they have either been in an accident or were nearly involved in an accident with a driver who was texting. An observational survey conducted in 2012 determined that 7.4 percent of California motorists were using a cell phone while driving at any given time during the day. However, this percentage is likely higher due to the fact that making such observations is difficult.
Despite evidence to the contrary, many California motorists - some 70 percent - believe that it is safe to use hands-free devices to communicate with their cell phones as opposed to holding the mobile device while texting or talking. According to research, the amount of risk involved is about the same because talking while driving still poses a major distraction.
Nationwide, over 3,000 people were killed and more than 420,000 were injured in accidents involving distracted driving in 2012. This is an alarming statistic, especially when one considers the mindset of younger drivers on the road who have never known a world without mobile technology.
According to national statistics, around 20 percent of young drivers do not believe texting or using their cell phones behind the wheel adversely affects their ability to drive. Moreover, 68 percent of drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 admit they are willing to answer calls while they are driving no matter the circumstances.
Data shows that when a driver engages in visual-manual subtasks, such as reaching for or dialing a phone, the chances of that driver getting into an accident increases three-fold. Furthermore, the act of texting creates a crash risk that is 23 times higher than driving without the distraction.
It takes the average person just under five seconds to read a text. During that small time span, a person driving 55-65 mph could easily travel the length of a football field. If that driver is not looking at the road, he or she is effectively driving blindfolded.
Were you the victim of a distracted-driving accident?
Considering the data, the chances of you being involved in an accident due to a distracted driver is, unfortunately, a real possibility. If you have been injured or lost a loved one because of another driver's negligence, you have legal options. By consulting with an attorney who is experienced with personal injury and wrongful death claims, you can seek compensation for your damages and hold the responsible party accountable for his or her actions.