The National Safety Council (NSC) published a press release earlier this month in which they estimate that 28 percent of all traffic crashes – at least 1.6 million wrecks each year – are caused by drivers using cell phones. The NSC estimates that 1.4 crashes are caused by cell phone use and 200,000 more are caused by texting while driving.
“We now know that at least 1.6 million crashes are caused by drivers using cell phones and texting,” said Janet Froetscher, president of the NSC. “We know that cell phone use is a very risky distraction and texting is even higher risk. We now know that cell phone use causes many more crashes than texting. The main reason is that millions more drivers use cell phones than text. That is why we need to address both texting and cell phone use on our roads.
“This new estimate provides critical data for legislators, business leaders and individuals to evaluate the threat and need for legislation, business policies and personal actions to prevent cell phone use and texting while driving. There was great progress made in 2009, particularly regarding a broad recognition that texting is dangerous. We now need the same broad consensus that recognizes cell phone use while driving causes even more crashes.”
The NSC used data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Council Administration (NHTSA) to estimate crashes caused by cell phone use. NHTSA data shows that at any one time, 11 percent of drivers are using cell phones. Research indicates that cell phone use increases the risk of crashing by four times. According to the NSC, cell phone use contributes to an estimated 25 percent of injury and property damage auto crashes.
I have written a great deal about cell phone use and driving, texting while driving, and other forms of distracted driving. Distracted driving has become a much larger problem in recent years as more digital devices have hit the market. GPS navigators, for instance, can be dangerous and cause wrecks. If you have a GPS navigator, you should never try to enter an address or perform a search while driving. If you need to take your eyes off the road, then please pull off the road. Similarly, if you need to read or send a text message, pull over, take care of your business, and then continue to drive. Talking on the phone while driving is not as dangerous as texting while driving, but it is still dangerous. If you must talk on the phone while driving, invest in a hands-free device. Or, better yet, turn off your cell phone when your driving. Give yourself a break from our digital world, watch the road, and enjoy the scenery. If you need to call someone, take a brake from driving. It’s the wise thing to do.
If you’ve been injured by a driver using a cell phone, contact an experienced attorney. You may be entitled to compensation. Call MLN Law at 404-531-9700 for a free consultation.