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Why is Distracted Driving is Getting Worse?

I’m David Holub, an attorney focusing on personal injury law in northwest Indiana.

Welcome to Personal Injury Primer, where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss topics related to personal injury law.

Today’s question comes from a listener who would like to know “with all the public service announcements about the dangers of distracted driving, why does it seem that more and more people are driving distracted?”

Distracted driving accounts for a large percentage of the motor vehicle injury cases we help people with and it is tragic.

Distracted driving has been around since the dawn of the automobile, but over the last few years it’s on the rise. The culprit…the proliferation of social media accessible mobile devices.

I saw this recently on a Facebook friend’s post…

“I nearly got killed today while driving, by a teenager on her phone who almost broadsided me. If I had not veered hard and drove off the road her SUV would have hit the driver side of my car head on. I was so shook up that I had to get out of my vehicle and calm down. When are people going to understand driving & talking on the phone impairs you like drugs and alcohol. Your focus goes to the phone and not your driving. The teenager never even stopped.”

Sadly, more and more people are witnessing first-hand the epidemic that cell phone usage is adding to driver’s distractions while behind the wheel. This is precisely why manufacturers of these mobile devices are taking some-what of a proactive stance by adding apps and sensors that detect when a vehicle is moving then shut off all incoming texts, social media notifications and calls to those devices. Although it’s the user’s responsibility for using these apps and sensors.

Luckily for my Facebook friend she still has fantastic reflexes and was able to swerve away from a head on collision. But, what if she wasn’t able to? What if there was no shoulder to pull over to? What if she had collided with the oncoming vehicle?

Over the years I’ve shared many articles about distracted driving, and yet it seems more and more people (not just teenagers) are entering the roadways while engaging in some sort of cellular activity.

Social media has given us the ability to connect rapidly with our fans, friends and followers and when we hear a ding we have to immediately check to see who is sending us what. Unfortunately, we’ve become conditioned like Pavlov’s dogs to check our devices constantly.

In 2015 a study was revealed that suggests the average cell phone user checks his/her phone 45 times per day.

But by 2017, that statistic jumped to 85 times a day. Yet, millennials (those between 18-26 years old) will check their devices up to 150 times per day.

Distracted driving is by all means negligent driving. Any time you take your eyes off the road to glance down at your phone you are putting yourself, your passengers or the traffic around you in danger. And depending on how fast you’re traveling a split-second glance to look at your phone could be all it takes to veer into another lane and cause an accident.

I hope you found this information helpful. If you have questions about your legal rights if you get hurt due to the carelessness of another person, or as a result of substandard medical care, or due to a product defect, construction injury, or any other type of personal injury, please give us a call at (219) 736-9700. You can also learn more about us by visiting our website at DavidHolubLaw.com – while there make sure you request a copy of our book “Fighting for Truth”.