How Have Cellphones Increased the Rate of Car Accidents?

Posted on: August 24, 2022

It is widely known that cellphone use increases the rate of car accidents, but you can see how serious the problem is by looking at the statistics. Although driving while texting gets much of the attention, talking and being on the internet while driving are also very hazardous to drivers, their passengers, and others who share the roads with them.

Even though most states have texting and driving laws, many people who drive still engage in this dangerous habit every day. Here are some of the statistics shared by different safety advocacy organizations:

  • The CDC estimated that approximately 3,000 people died from texting and driving and other distracted driving practices in 2020.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) claims that 600,000 drivers use cellphones while operating vehicles every day.
  • Texting and driving has the same effects on driver reaction time as drinking four beers in 60 minutes.
  • Texting behind the wheel for just five seconds at 55 miles per hour is compared to driving the whole length of a football field with your eyes closed.

It is not surprising that teenage drivers are more at risk for cellphone use while driving. Here is data that shows the extent of the problem:

  • The CDC reports that 60 percent of teens who are 18 years old and older admit to texting or emailing while driving.
  • Twenty-five percent of teens surveyed by the AAA admit that they answer at least one text each time they drive; 35 percent admitted to texting while driving.
  • Ten percent of parents and 20 percent of teen drivers report to having multi-text conversations when driving.

How Many Deaths Are Caused by Distracted Driving?

Cellphone use behind the wheel is considered a form of distracted driving because it takes the drivers attention away from the road. These phones are associated with multiple activities, including messaging apps, music, GPS use, texting, talking, and social media. It has been shown that cellphone use while driving also reduces the percentage of brain activity related to driving by as much as 37 percent.

Handheld devices and other distractions decrease driver ability to focus on the road, respond to important traffic events, and control vehicles. Keeping this in mind, the following is data pertaining to distracted driving-related deaths:

  • Close to nine percent of all traffic fatalities are related to distracted driving, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • From 2012 to 2019, over 26,000 people perished in accidents involving distracted drivers; this was an increase of 10 percent.
  • There were 566 non-occupants (bicyclists, pedestrians, others) killed in accidents that involved distracted drivers in 2019.
  • Nine percent of 15-year-old to 19-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes that same year were reported to have been distracted.
  • The NHTSA reports that nine people lose their lives and more than 1,000 get injured each day in reported distracted driving crashes in this country.
  • Approximately 400 deadly auto accidents happen yearly as a direct consequence of texting while driving.

Dangers of Cellphone Use While Driving

It is next to impossible for someone to read text a message while staying focused on their driving. Voice texting might be slightly better, but it still takes away attention, and it only takes a second or two to get into a major crash.

Cellphone conversations require dialing the number and talking, and it can also be done hands-free. Still, talking to others requires some concentration that should be devoted to the more important task at hand: driving.

Interacting on social media and being on the internet while driving are both highly risky behaviors, as they involve texting, reading, looking at photos and videos, and listening.

Scrolling down through music playlists while driving can be just as hazardous. It is common for drivers to use their cellphones while at red lights and when in traffic, and this can lead to rear-ending another driver. These might not be as deadly as high-speed crashes, but they can still cause injuries and property damage.

How Can I Stop Using My Cellphone While Driving?

Cellphone use behind the wheel is ingrained into many peoples daily lives, and it is not the easiest habit to break. With a little bit of effort though, the cycle can be broken.

If you use your phone’s GPS while driving, map out the route first, and pull over somewhere safe if you have to make any changes. For playlists, choose the songs ahead of time so they can play without interruption.

One of the best ways to avoid cellphone distractions is to put your phone on Do Not Disturb mode. This will eliminate notifications, which are one of the main reasons why drivers pick up these devices while driving. You can set up emergency notification options for family members and other VIPs, but let them know that the feature should only be used under specific circumstances.

Feel free to pull over every half-hour or hour to check your messages; respond if needed. It might be better to answer your messages in some cases, otherwise you might be distracted by how you will respond once you resume driving.

Many drivers prefer to keep their cellphones out of sight, putting them inside backpacks, handbags, or consoles while they are driving. This reduces the temptation, and like the other suggestions, is a safer habit than keeping the phone by your side.

Monmouth County Car Accident Lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova Advocate for Clients Injured in Cellphone-Related Accidents

Cellphone use and safe driving do not go hand-in-hand, yet many drivers still do it every single day. If you have been involved in a distracted driving that was not your fault, reach out to one of our Monmouth County car accident lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova today. Our skilled and resourceful legal team will provide sound guidance. For a free consultation, call us at 732-705-3363 or complete our online form. We are located in Hazlet and Highland Park, New Jersey, and we proudly assist clients in Ocean County, Sussex County, Neptune, Middlesex County, and Pennsylvania.