Over the past six years, State Farm has been conducting an annual survey to analyze the attitudes of approximately 1,000 drivers who are over the age of 18 about distracted driving and their own behaviors. The drivers surveyed have a cellphone and drive anywhere from one to 80 hours every week. While the results of this annual survey reveal that the number ofdistracted drivers who talk on cellphones has decreased and the number of drivers who admit that they text behind the wheel has stayed constant, other risky behaviors have increased significantly.
The rise in smartphone-related activities
While they may not be talking or texting, other activities drivers can perform using their smartphone have increased since 2009. For example, USA Today states that this survey reveals the following:
- The number of drivers who reported that they browsed Twitter behind the wheel of their car rose from just 9 percent in 2009 to 20 percent in 2014.
- The number of drivers who admitted that they had accessed the Internet while driving doubled from 2009 to 2014.
- In 2009, 15 percent of drivers reported that they had read their email behind the wheel of a vehicle, while 25 percent said that they had done so in 2014.
Researchers are unable to determine exactly why the number of drivers who participate in smart-phone-related activities has increased over the past several years. However, some speculate that drivers may be tempted to surf the Internet or email their coworkers when they are behind the wheel of their car because they believe that they have available attention to devote to something other than driving.
Cellphone laws in Texas
Currently in Texas, it is illegal for drivers under the age of 18 to use wireless communication devices, for school bus drivers to use a cellphone when children are present and for all drivers to use a cellphone while in a school crossing zone, states the Texas Department of Transportation. Additionally, Austin and some other cities, have banned texting and driving for drivers of all ages.
Many drivers don’t realize that distracted driving, regardless of the cause of the distraction, can cause collisions that may result in catastrophic injuries to themselves and others sharing the road with them. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, distracted driving is defined as any activity that takes a driver’s full attention away from operating a vehicle.
People who are injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver may be eligible to receive compensation to recover the cost of their medical bills, rehabilitation expenses and the pain and suffering they experienced as a result of the collision. If you were injured in a car accident, speak with an attorney to find out what compensation may be available to you.