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Smartphone Use Behind the Wheel Is A Growing Problem

West Virginia auto accident attorneysAnytime you take to the roadways in West Virginia, you could be in the proximity of a distracted driver – or several distracted drivers. It is a growing epidemic on US roads.

The riskiest form of distracted driving, according to research conducted by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), is using a smartphone while driving. Some drivers are adept at hiding it. They may tamper with their handheld device while appearing attentive. Others don’t bother to hide it at all. You may see them blatantly using their device with their eyes off the road.

Identifying the habits of distracted drivers

The overall use of cellphones has dropped from 2014 – 2018, but cellphone manipulation has gone up 57 percent during that time period.

“People are talking on the phone less than they were in 2014 and they’re manipulating it more, which is things that include texting and potentially browsing the internet or potentially using it for navigation, audio, music,” said David Kidd, senior research scientist for HLDI.

In addition, drivers who manipulate their handheld devices behind the wheel are likely streaming videos, taking photos, or using social media apps.

These habits resulted in roughly 800 traffic fatalities in 2017, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS).

IIHS researchers gathered supporting evidence of this growing problem by recording the activities of passing drivers at traffic lights, straight sections, and roundabouts in four northern Virginia communities. They found that drivers were more likely to engage in distracted behavior at traffic lights and less likely at roundabouts.

About 23 percent of drivers were engaged in some kind of distraction, sometimes even engaging in multiple activities. These included:

  • Talking on the phone
  • Manipulating a cellphone
  • Looking at a cellphone
  • Wearing a hands-free Bluetooth device
  • Wearing headphones
  • Manipulating infotainment systems or dashboard features
  • Manipulating another type of electronic device
  • Talking/singing
  • Eating, drinking, or smoking
  • Grooming or taking care of hygiene
  • Other distractions not involving electronic devices

Injured in a crash with a distracted driver? Our attorneys will fight for you

Data suggests that cellphone use behind the wheel, not including making phone calls, increases drivers’ accident risk by around 66 percent. At any given moment, you could be rear-ended at an intersection, sideswiped on a multi-lane road, or struck head-on by an inattentive driver navigating a curve.

Proving that an at-fault driver was manipulating a cellphone at the time of a crash can be difficult. It may require a thorough investigation, witness statements, a subpoena from the driver’s wireless provider, and a look at his or her social media accounts.

If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, it’s critical that you speak to an experienced attorney as soon as possible. At Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, we have seen the devastation distracted driving accidents cause to crash victims and their families. We have seen how insurance companies have taken advantage of injured motorists who didn’t know their rights.

We are ready to fight on your behalf and help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

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Phone: 304-720-1000