When you drive in Ohio, there's a good chance you'll see someone behind the wheel fiddling with a cell phone. While the state toughened its distracted driving laws in 2018, drivers may think it's no big deal to send a quick text or have a conversation.
A recent study, however, shows that using a cell phone while driving can have tragic consequences. In 2017, more than 800 fatal road accidents in the United States were linked to manipulating a cell phone, according to Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) research. Virginia researchers compared roadside observations of drivers in 2014 and 2018. In 2018, drivers were 57 percent more likely to be fiddling with a cell phone than four years earlier.
Handling the phone while driving is a change from simply talking on it. Drivers are talking on their cell phones less these days, but the study found that motorists are manipulating their phones more than ever. David Kidd, a research scientist and co-author of the IIHS study, noted that the most recent data show that drivers are using their phones in riskier ways. They might be searching the internet, texting, looking at social media, or calling up directions, among other distractions.
Why using a cell phone behind the wheel is so dangerous
Anytime drivers look at a cell phone they are not looking at the road. They're also not keeping both hands on the wheel, and their minds are not focused on driving and the surroundings. A serious crash can happen in the two or three seconds that the driver is glancing at the cell phone.
Drivers are not just distracted by their phones. Drivers observed in Virginia were also seen engaged in a variety of activities that could lead to a crash. They include eating, drinking, grooming or fiddling with an in-vehicle system such as a radio or climate control, among other distractions.
Injuries from a distracted driving accident can be serious and life-changing:
- Internal injuries
- Spinal cord injuries leading to paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries
Even less severe injuries can have a significant impact. You may have to take time off from work for doctor appointments. The injury may affect your ability to do your job. Then there is the worry that you may feel about dealing with the aftermath of the accident.
What to do after an accident caused by a distracted driver
Unfortunately, the insurance company for the at-fault driver might try to downplay the seriousness of the accident. You might get an offer for a quick settlement that would not begin to cover the losses from the accident. Insurance companies care about profit and will look for excuses to reduce compensation to accident victims.
That's why it's critical to discuss your accident with an experienced personal injury lawyer at Gervelis Law Firm. We will listen and help you decide the best course of action to obtain compensation for your losses. If you or a loved one was in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you will need a compassionate and tough-minded attorney in your corner. Contact us today for a free consultation.