A new American Automobile Association Foundation (AAA) survey shows that while most drivers are aware of the dangers associated with distracted driving, it does not stop them from engaging in risky driving behaviors themselves. The Traffic Safety Culture study involved 2,613 drivers age 16 and older who reported driving in the last 30 days. It was designed to reveal drivers’ attitudes and behaviors related to traffic safety. The AAA Public and Government Affairs Manager says the results are extremely troubling.
While 88 percent of drivers believe distracted driving is on the rise, the number of drivers who reported using a cellphone while driving is up 46 percent since 2013. Although 58 percent believe talking on a cellphone is a very serious threat to personal safety, and 78 percent believe texting is a significant danger, 49 percent reported talking on a hand-held phone while driving and 35 percent reported sending a text or email while driving.
According to the Delaware State Police, there were 6,095 car accidents in 2016 that involved a distracted driver, seven of which were fatal. These crashes accounted for 23 percent of all reportable traffic crashes and 6 percent of all fatal crashes, respectively.
The number of motor vehicle fatalities remains high nationwide. The 2017 National Safety Council (NSC) preliminary estimates show that there were more than 40,000 motor vehicle deaths for the second year in a row. This is 6 percent higher than the number of deaths in 2015, and costs associated with these accidents amount to a whopping $413.8 billion.
April was Distracted Driving Awareness Month, an annual event during which the NSC, along with other organizations and individuals, attempt to raise awareness regarding the increasing epidemic of distracted driving.
To decrease preventable deaths and ensure safer roadways, the NSC recommends that drivers:
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 3,477 people were fatally injured in distracted driving accidents in 2015 alone. However, this may be a conservative estimate, according to the AAA. Because distracted driving is difficult to detect after a crash (compared to drunk driving or driving while under the influence of drugs, for example), it is one of the most under-reported traffic safety issues. According to a past AAA study involving dashboard camera videos, distraction was a factor in 58 percent of crashes, not 14 percent as federal estimates suggest.
The AAA Foundation reports that drivers who talk on a cellphone are up to four times more likely to crash; and those who text are up to eight times more likely to crash. With cellphones, dashboard infotainment systems, voice command features, and other emerging technologies, the number of distractions for drivers is increasing.
If you were injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The experienced Georgetown car accident lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. represent clients throughout Delaware from our offices in Wilmington and Georgetown. Contact us online or call us at 302-656-5445 to schedule a free consultation.