Distracted Driving Less from Talking, More from Smart Phones
A new survey of distracted driving in the US shows that fewer people are talking on their phones, but more people are texting and driving, writing emails, or checking social media through their smart phones.
State Farm has conducted an annual survey every year since 2009 to measure drivers’ attitudes and behaviors toward various forms of distracted driving, from texting to talking to eating. The number of drivers who report having a conversation using a cell phone has decreased, but the number of drivers who admit to texting, writing emails, taking selfies, or composing social media messages has increased.
According to the survey, 26% of drivers admit to surfing the internet while behind the wheel; 25% admit to reading emails; and 20% admitted to reading messages on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.
“We’re not sure why (these behaviors) are increasing,” says Chris Mullen, State Farm’s director of technology research. “But they are just as dangerous. People have a perception of what they are able to do with the attention span they have (while driving). They believe they have available attention they can spend on something in addition to driving. They will spend that time with various behaviors.”
However, drivers seem to know that these behaviors are dangerous, and choose to engage in them anyway. The State Farm survey reported that 80% of drivers knew that sending a text was “very distracting,” while 68% responded that reading a text was “very distracting.”
Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows just how dangerous distracted driving can be. One-third of all crashes – 36% – occur at intersections, mainly because of driver recognition and decision errors, which includes failure to see potential dangers. Driver decision errors account for 84% of all crashes in the US.
The survey showed that, although most drivers choose to engage in these distracted driving behaviors anyway, some were beginning to self-regulate. State Farm reported that 63% of motorists said they were more likely to check their phone while stopped at a traffic light, then put it down to drive.
These numbers are especially disturbing this holiday season. AAA estimates how many travelers will be driving during the holiday season, and since gas prices are their lowest in years, the automotive agency believes more people will drive to their destinations. This means there will be more stressed out drivers on the roads, trying to coordinate with friends and family, which can lead to more distracted driving accidents.
At least 44 states have, so far, passed some form of distracted driving legislation. This year, South Carolina passed a statewide ban on texting and driving, although other forms of distracted driving are legal.
The Strom Law Firm Helps Those Injured by Distracted Drivers
If you have been injured by a distracted driver, the South Carolina distracted driving accident attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. will fight for fair compensation for your injuries. Our South Carolina car accident lawyers are prepared to fight for compensation in the courtroom and will defend your right to compensation for your past and future medical bills, lost wages and future earnings, your pain and suffering, and, in the event of a fatal car accident, even wrongful death. Our attorneys offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your personal injury case for distracted driving, so contact us today. 803.252.4800.