According to a new report by the National Safety Council (NSC), more than one in four car accidents involves cell phone use.
You may think texting while driving increases the numbers, but surprisingly, only 5 percent of cell phone-related crashes involve texting. It is reported that 21 percent of crashes involve drivers talking on handheld or hands-free cell phones.
These findings remind us that talking on a cell phone while driving, even using a hands-free device, can be dangerous, even deadly.
In 2012, there were 3,324 people killed and 421,000 injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. According to the National Safety Council’s report, 26 percent of crashes involved cell phone use.
Whether using a hand-held cell phone or a hands-free device, distraction is what causes the accident. The driver gets so involved in their telephone conversation they do not pay attention to their driving or what is going on around them.
Nearly all states include at least one category for distraction on the police crash report forms, according to crash data collection, although the specific data that is collected varies. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), the Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria guideline provides best practices on distraction data collection.
WCBS-TV reported that the NSC believes that the data on distracted crashes is under-reported. If this is so, that means cell phones could be involved in far more car accidents than most of us realize.
The GHSA provided a breakdown of state laws regarding distracted driving:
– Hand-held cell phone use. Twelve states and Washington, D.C., prohibit drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving. These are “primary enforcement” laws, meaning an officer can cite a driver for using a hand-held cell phone without any other traffic offense occurring.
– All cell phone use. No state has a complete ban on all cell phone use while driving, but 37 states and the District of Columbia ban all cell phone use by novice drivers (for good reason); in addition, 20 states and D.C. prohibit cell phone use by school bus drivers.
– Text messaging. Currently, 42 states and Washington, D.C., prohibit text messaging for all drivers. Another five states prohibit text messaging by novice drivers and three states restrict school bus drivers from texting, as well.
If you receive a text message while you are behind the wheel, either ignore it until you are no longer driving or pull over if you must. The same goes for talking on a cell phone while driving. It is not worth your safety or the safety of innocent people on the road. Unfortunately, for the one out of four drivers who end up in a car crash, they will need to use their cell phone to call an experienced attorney.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an automobile accident, contact one our experienced Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).