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What Are People Doing on Their Smartphones While Driving?

Posted on: April 27, 2016 by Edwards & Patterson Law

Women Driver in Danger - Cellphone Use While Driving

In today’s technology-driven society, smartphones help us keep up to date on the latest information, while giving us a variety of ways in which to communicate with colleagues, friends, and loved ones.

As smartphones continue to evolve, offering more and more uses, it becomes increasingly important to be aware of when not to use these devices. Cellphones and driving do not mix, and distracted driving statistics report that these devices are a factor in a large number of car accidents, often resulting in serious and potentially life-threatening injuries.

Despite the increased efforts of law enforcement and public service campaigns, smartphone use while driving continues to be a problem. Beyond texting and making calls, studies show that smartphone users are engaging in a surprising variety of dangerous behaviors that could prove fatal behind the wheel.

Alarming Facts about Smartphones Usage While Driving

Distracted driving continues to be a major problem and a contributing cause of accidents on the nation’s roads, highways, and interstates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that roughly one out of every five serious car accidents resulting in injuries occurs as the result of distracted driving. These accidents kill as many as eight people a day and result in injuries for over a 1,000 more drivers and passengers.

One of the most frequently cited factors in these accidents is cellphone use. Research conducted by the CDC reveals the following facts about texting while driving:

  • Nearly 70 percent of all drivers ages 18 through 64 report making calls and talking on their cellphone while driving.
  • 31 percent of drivers in this age group report sending or reading texts and emails while behind the wheel.
  • Using a smartphone diverts your attention from the road ahead while requiring you to remove one or both hands from the wheel – two major risk factors for distracted driving accidents.
  • When driving at 55 miles per hour, looking away from the road for even a few seconds while texting, emailing, or looking up a contact diverts your attention from the road long enough to cover the entire length of a football field.

Despite tougher laws restricting cellphone use and banning texting while driving, smartphone use while driving continues to be a growing problem, with drivers engaging in an increasing number of surprising and reckless behaviors.

Drivers Using Their Smartphones Aren’t Just Texting

While texting has long been identified as a major factor in distracted driving accidents, reports indicate smartphone use while driving has accelerated to include a number of other surprising and dangerous activities as well. A 2015 Time media report on smartphone use while driving indicates drivers are using their phones to surf the web, post status updates on social media, and even to share pictures and videos taken while behind the wheel.

The report cites a 2015 survey by communication services provider AT&T, which reports that seven out of every ten drivers engage in smartphone use while driving. In addition to texting, the following are the most common activities among smartphone users, and the percentage of drivers admitting to engaging in these activities behind the wheel:

  • Checking emails: 33 percent
  • Surfing the internet: 28 percent
  • Checking statuses and posting updates on Facebook: 27 percent
  • Snapping photos of themselves: 17 percent
  • Posting to websites such as Twitter and Instagram: 14 percent;
  • Taking videos of themselves, their friends, or their surroundings: 12 percent

One of the most popular trends in social media among smartphone users is taking and posting pictures of themselves, known as “selfies,” while in the act of driving. Using a variety of headings to tag and group themselves, the sheer number of the photos being posted is shocking. Using the hashtag “driving selfies,” an Instagram search revealed over 6,500 photos, while the hashtags “driving home” and “driving to work” revealed over 110,000 pictures of drivers behind the wheel.

What You Can Do to Prevent Injuries from Cellphone Use While Driving

In response to the dangers posed by distracted driving and the statistics showing the number of people using smartphones while driving, AT&T, in cooperation with social media giant Twitter, started a public service campaign titled It Can Wait. The program offers resources on distracted driving data and statistics, including texting while driving facts, tools to raise awareness and to help prevent the use of cellphones behind the wheel, as well as a pledge for users to sign vowing to avoid behaviors which could result in car accidents and injuries.

Applications the website offers to increase driving safety among smartphone users include:

  • Drive Mode, an app that silences incoming text alerts and notifies users that the recipient is driving and will get back to them shortly. The app senses and turns on automatically when you are driving at 15 miles per hour or greater, and shuts off automatically when the car comes to a stop. It is a valuable resource for teen drivers, one of the most at risk for distracted driving accidents, and notifies parents if the app is turned off or disabled.
  • Safely Go, an app that enables you to stay connected by allowing calls from three VIP contacts you designate in advance, while alerting other callers that you are driving. The app allows Bluetooth and hands-free devices, and allows you to programs up to three driving-related programs, such as maps, navigation, and music, that will continue to allow access behind the wheel.

In addition, there is also a virtual reality app and a texting and driving simulator that allow you to see the actual effects distracted driving can have behind the wheel.

Let Us Assist You Today

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, contact Edwards & Patterson today. Our experienced Oklahoma car accident attorneys provide professional, passionate legal representation to assist you in getting compensation for the damages you have suffered. We can advise you on how to hold responsible parties accountable, while ensuring your rights and interests are protected.

We serve McAlester, Tulsa, and the surrounding areas of Oklahoma. Call or contact us online today for a free consultation and advice about your legal options.

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