Books on a shelf

Distracted Driving Causes Increasing Numbers of Car Accidents, Injuries

Kim Staskus Dec. 30, 2018

Distracted driving has become a common cause of car accidents and subsequent injuries in the United States. The prevalence of smartphones has made it especially problematic, as people frequently text, browse the web or make phone calls while behind the wheel, taking their attention (and eyes) off the road.

California has laws that prohibit people from driving while holding a cellphone in their hand, although hands-free use is legal. The law, unfortunately, doesn’t stop everyone from using their phones behind the wheel, as these statistics compiled from a 2016 survey show:

  • More than 44 percent of Californians who responded to the survey said texting while driving is the “most serious distraction” for drivers.

  • More than 54 percent of California drivers surveyed said they had either been hit or had nearly been hit by a driver using their cellphone.

  • Nearly 40 percent of surveyed drivers admitted to making a mistake behind the wheel while talking on the phone.

People who text while behind the wheel take their eyes off the road for an average of five seconds at a time. When traveling at 55 miles per hour, a standard highway speed, this is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field without looking up. With how quickly hazards can appear on the road, such as an unnoticed pothole or a car suddenly decided to merge into your lane, that lack of attention can be dangerous and, in some cases, fatal.

The best thing to do is to keep your phone out of arm’s reach while driving. That way, you won’t have the temptation to pull it out and use it while you are behind the wheel. You should also avoid calling or texting others if you know they are likely to be driving. In addition, try to avoid other activities that could take your focus off the road, such as eating, using other types of devices, applying makeup or smoking while behind the wheel.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident due to the actions of a distracted driver, meet with an experienced San Jose auto accident attorney for assistance. Call the team at Staskus Law Firm, P.C. at (408) 479-5822 or contact us online.