In today’s fast-paced world, the presence of smartphones has revolutionized how we connect and access information. However, this digital dependency comes at a grave cost when it infiltrates driving habits. The most hazardous form of distracted driving? Look no further than the device in your hand — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) identifies distracted driving as a leading cause of accidents, with cell phone use at the top list of offenders.
As we delve into the complexities of this issue, it becomes apparent that our reliance on smartphones poses a continuous threat to road safety. Whether sending a quick text, scrolling through social media, or answering a call, the consequences can be catastrophic.
The dangers of using a cell phone while driving compromises attention, delays reactions, and increases the likelihood of accidents that result in severe injuries or, tragically, loss of life. If you or a loved one has suffered due to a distracted driving accident caused by cell phone use, don’t hesitate to explore the crucial role a personal injury attorney can play in your pursuit of rightful compensation and justice. Stay tuned for insights into safeguarding our roads and advocating for responsible driving practices.
Contact Morrin Law Office
When faced with a car accident injury that leaves you questioning what to do next, consider hiring a personal injury attorney. The lawyers with Morrin Law Office have years of experience representing those injured in Kentucky motor vehicle accidents. We can provide you with a free consultation when you call us at (859) 358-0300.
Most Dangerous Form of Distracted Driving
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicated that there were 3,522 people killed and 362,415 that were injured in motor vehicle accidents during 2021. A driver who is distracted is someone who lets any other activity divert their attention from the act of driving. This can include removing the driver’s eyes from the road, hands from the wheel, or mind from focusing on the task at hand.
While there are various reasons that may cause a driver to become distracted, NHTSA identifies texting and cell phone use as the most alarming distraction. When a driver sends a text message, it can result in the driver removing all three of the main forms of attention from the road.
Using a mobile phone while operating a vehicle is extremely dangerous and can very easily lead to a collision that leads to serious injuries or even death. As stated by the NHTSA, “you cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing.”
Data on Drivers and Cell Phone Use
The following provides data on cell phone use while driving from AAA in 2014:
- Drivers who text behind the wheel are eight times more likely to be in a or near a crash as drivers who refrain from texting;
- Conversing on mobile devices in any form, whether it be a phone call, text, or email, increases a driver’s risk of a crash two to four times;
- Drivers who use cell phones behind the wheel have a higher risk of other dangerous driving behaviors, such as running a red light or speeding; and
- 6% of Americans claimed they felt that using a cell phone while driving represents a threat to public safety.
A 2023 Forbes article also identified cell phone use as the leading cause of distraction-related accidents. The following provides insight into their collected data:
- 5% of drivers hold their phones to their ear while driving – Despite most new vehicles offering hands-free phone features, 2.5% of drivers still hold their phones to their ears while driving. That means at any given moment, there are approximately 373,066 drivers in the U.S. who are only driving with one hand while holding their phone in the other.
- People between the ages of 16-24 are most likely to use cell phones while driving –7% of drivers between the ages of 16-24 use cell phones while driving, compared to 2.5% of drivers between 25-69 and 0.7% of drivers 70 or older.
- Women are more likely to use a cell phone while driving – While both men and women use cell phones while driving, the rate of women using cell phones is 3% compared to the 2.2% of men.
- Using a touchscreen phone while driving has increased – Due to the continuing increase in technology, using touch screen cell phones while driving increased from 1.5% in 2012 to 3.4% in 2021.
- Drivers with passengers under the age of 8 are more likely to use cell phones while driving – 5% of drivers with passengers under 8 talks on cell phones while driving, compared to 1% of motorists with passengers over 8.
- Drivers in the South are most likely to use their phone while driving –1% of motorists in the South admit to talking on cell phones while driving, compared to 2.9% in the Midwest, 1.8% in the Northeast, and 1.6% in the West.
Cognitive Distraction – Is Hands-Free Just as Dangerous?
According to AAA, sources of cognitive distraction (e.g. hands-free systems) can create an increase of impairment to drivers. This can include:
- Suppressed brain activity;
- Increase reaction time;
- Decrease visual scanning of the driving environment; and/or
- Missed driving cues such as stop signs or red lights.
In their landmark 2013 study, the AAA Foundation measured cognitive distraction in automobiles. They found that even using the hands-free options in vehicles can place a high cognitive burden on drivers. The study also demonstrated that cognitive-distracted drivers often miss important cues and create a “tunnel-vision” like affect. Ultimately, the study provided evidence that phone use, even when it is hands-free, is still considered a high-risk for drivers.
Cell Phone Use in Kentucky Motor Vehicle Collisions
In 2010, Kentucky passed House Bill 415 that prohibited all drivers from texting while driving. Despite this legislation becoming a law, there is still evidence that texting while driving, in addition to other cell phone use, is prevalent in the state.
The Kentucky Transportation Traffic Collision Report found that cell phone use was determined the cause of 961 total collisions in 2020. The following provides data on each type of collision in Kentucky where the contributing collision factor was due to cell phone use:
- Emergency Vehicle Collisions – 14 total collisions
- Farm Equipment Collisions – 2 total collisions
- Collisions Involving Elementary School Age Children – 51 total collisions
- Pedestrian Collisions – 5 total collisions
- Bicycle Collisions – 1 total collision
- Motorcycle Collisions – 2 total collisions
- Commercial Truck Collisions – 37 total collisions
- Multiple Fatality Collisions – 1 total collision
What To Do After You’ve Been Injured by a Distracted Driver
After establishing the dangers of being distracted by a cell phone while driving, the question remains: What should you do if you’ve been injured by a distracted driver in Kentucky?
The most important thing to do after a motor vehicle accident is to seek medical assistance to assess the extent of your injuries. As there may be some injuries that don’t set in until days or weeks later, it is always a good idea to be fully checked out by a doctor. Once you’ve collected imperative information such as the police report and any documentation from the accident scene, you should consider contacting an experienced Kentucky personal injury attorney.
In the state of Kentucky, a person who wishes to file a personal injury claim due to a motor vehicle accident has two years from the date of the accident or established injury. However, our law firm stresses that waiting is the worst thing you can do for your case. By hiring Morrin Law, we can help you speak to the tough insurance companies and fight to win the compensation you deserve to get your life back on track.
Morrin Law Office to Represent Your Personal Injury Case
Obtaining an injury in any accident is a stressful process. If the injuries were sustained by a distracted driver on their phone, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim. In doing so, you can fight to win back the damages caused by the collision, which can include medical bills, missed work, and more.
However, keep in mind that Kentucky’s legal field is complex, so hiring an experienced attorney is your best bet to win your claim. Our firm prioritizes our clients’ well-being and ensures that we’ll be there alongside you throughout the entire process. If you or someone you love has been injured or wrongfully killed in a distracted driving accident, the time to act is now. To receive a free consultation regarding your case, contact Morrin Law Office today at (859) 358-0300.