Texting While Driving—More Dangerous than you Think?
Since 2014, deaths on America’s roads have risen by 14.4 percent. A total of 37,461 people died in traffic accidents during 2016, according to a recent survey from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Phone use while driving may be one of the hidden causes of the rise in highway fatalities.
Some of the increase in the number of fatal accidents can be traced to common causes such as drunk driving, speeding, and failure to wear seatbelts. Americans also drove more in 2016, with total miles increasing by 2.2 percent from 2015’s figure. But experts say these increases are not enough to explain the recent spike in traffic fatalities.
According to official figures, only 1.4 percent of accidents can be traced to cell phone use. But there are reasons to believe the true figure is much higher than that.
Distracted Driving Kills
Jennifer Smith lost her mother in an accident in 2008. Smith’s mother was on the way to pick up cat food when a 20-year-old college student crashed into Smith’s driver’s side door, killing her almost instantly. The driver admitted that texting while driving was the cause of his distraction.
Officially, however, this accident is not attributed to cell phone use . . . or even to distraction. Accidents like this may be happening all the time, and we’d never know about it unless the driver admitted to it. This is one reason Smith suspects that the number of accidents directly caused by distracted driving may be as many as three times as high as the official 1.4 percent.
Deaths Caused by Distracted Driving Likely Higher than Official Figures
There are other reasons to believe distracted driving may be a factor in the rise in traffic fatalities over the past two years. For one thing, distracted driving is difficult to prove. For another thing, smartphone ownership has become more common. Most importantly, however, there has been a major spike in traffic deaths of cyclists and pedestrians.
Total deaths in traffic accidents have risen by 14.4 percent over the last two years. But the increases for motorcyclists (15.1 percent), bicyclists (15.2 percent), and pedestrians (21.9 percent) outpace this increase by a wide margin.
Motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians are all considerably smaller than the average vehicle. Additionally, they may be disproportionately represented in the spike in traffic deaths due to an overall rise in distracted driving.
No matter what the true cause is, we all know that distracted driving kills. Texting while driving is a bad move under any circumstances. Drive safe out there.
If you’ve been injured in a distracted driving accident, are the survivor of a someone who was killed by a negligent driver, or have any questions about this topic, you can find out more by contacting experienced Louisiana vehicle wreck attorney Chris Roy Jr, founder of the Chris J. Roy, Jr. Law Firm. Having practiced law for nearly 30 years, he takes pride in helping accident victims in Alexandria, Pineville, Rapides Parish, Grant Parish, Avoyelles Parish, Allen Parish, and throughout Central Louisiana. Benefit from his assistance and knowledge by contacting the firm for a free initial consultation. Call 1-318-523-4182 to get help today.