Study shows high rates of phone-use distraction while driving

At our law firm, we represent the victims of motor-vehicle accidents caused by negligent and reckless drivers in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. We have discussed New Mexico's ban on texting while driving in a previous post. Today, we share the startling findings of a new national study on mobile-phone distraction while driving.

Cell-phone technology gathers accident data about texting

In more than half (52 percent) of car trips that ended in accidents, "phone distraction" occurred during the ride, reported Cambridge Mobile Telematics, a Cambridge, Massachusetts, mobile-phone data application business, last month.

The company has developed phone apps to measure real-time driver behavior by gathering data using phone sensors, a specialty called telematics. The data for the study was gleaned from a software app installed on hundreds of thousands of cell phones used by drivers.

Study results

Other findings included:

•· The average length of phone distraction was 135 seconds - more than two minutes - in vehicle rides that ended in accidents.

•· In one-fifth of rides in which phone distraction occurred, the distraction lasted at least two minutes.

•· The bottom 10 percent of phone-distracted drivers were "2.3 times more likely" to experience a car crash than the "average driver."

•· The bottom 10 percent of phone-distracted drivers were "5.8 times more likely" to be in an accident than the "best 10 percent of distracted drivers."

Impact of cell-phone restriction laws

Another study finding of concern is that the impact of state legislation restricting cell-phone use on accident frequency is only very slight, although the study appears to have only looked at bans on all handheld phone use and not at texting-specific bans.

Seek legal advice

Any driver who drives negligently or recklessly because of cell-phone use behind the wheel and causes an accident that injures or kills another will be liable in a personal injury or wrongful death suit. At Giddens & Gatton Law,amp; P.C., in Albuquerque, we represent the victims of auto accidents in the pursuit of justice.

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