A new study released by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) found a 39 percent increase in drivers who were observed using a cell phone while driving over the past year, which increases the risk of a car accident significantly.
The study was performed by OTS and CHP along with researchers from the University of California, Berkley. The researchers visually observed driving behavior in a variety of different situations and specifically looked at cell phone usage.
They found that 9.2 percent of drivers were using a cell phone while driving. This figure is a stark increase from the 6.6 percent of drivers who were observed using a cell phone while driving in 2014. According to researchers, the study may underestimate the true amount of drivers using their cell phones while behind the wheel. Due to researchers inability to actually see what drivers are doing, representatives from OTS actually believe roughly 1 in 5 drivers, or 20 percent, actually use their cell phones while driving.
In 2013, 3,154 people were killed in the United States due to car accidents involving distracted drivers. This figure includes those drivers using cell phones. Another 424,000 people were injured in car accidents involving distracted drivers.
Using a cell phone while driving can create a very dangerous situation. It distracts the driver in three different ways. First, it can visually impair the driver’s ability to maintain their sight on the road. Second, it can require the driver to remove one or both of their hands from the steering wheel. Third, it nearly always requires the driver to focus on the cell phone and not the driving task – which requires the brain to divert crucial resources from the driving task. Research has shown that using a voice activated system, including those on your smartphone, continues to distract the driver and may lead to more car accidents. Distracted driving is a national epidemic, and a major contributor to the leading cause of death for teens in the United States.
Texting-while-driving requires a driver to have their hand(s) off the wheel and usually their eyes off of the road. Studies performed by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that drivers who text-while-driving are 23 times more likely to be in a car accident.
If you have been injured as a result of a car accident with a distracted driver using a cell phone, texting or simply talking on a hands free device, the experienced car accident lawyers at Martinez & Schill can help. Our office serves Southern California, from San Diego to Riverside. We will fight for your rights and do not take a fee unless you recover. 619-512-5995 or 951-200-4630.