According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving caused more than 3,400 fatalities in 2016 alone. An AAA survey revealed that 90% of drivers believe distracted driving rates are increasing, and a 2017 Traffic Safety Index survey found that 88% of drivers are more afraid of distracted drivers than aggressive or drunk drivers. Furthermore, the AAA estimates that distracted driving is responsible for more than half of all traffic accidents in the United States.
While using a cell phone has often been thought to be the most common form of distracted driving, recent research by the NHTSA has revealed a surprising fact – talking to passengers causes more distracted driving accidents than using a cell phone. Specifically, having a conversation with passengers causes 57% of distracted driving accidents in the U.S., while using a cell phone is responsible for 12% of distracted auto accidents. Passengers dancing in the car or kids arguing in the backseat contribute to an additional 7% of distracted driving accidents.
Understanding the Implications of the Research
The research emphasizes the importance of avoiding distractions of all kinds while behind the wheel. Some drivers may underestimate the power of mental distractions from having a conversation, listening to music, or arguing with a passenger. While many drivers think they are safe just because they don’t use a cell phone while driving, they could still be at risk for an accident. Drivers must avoid distractions at all costs, and reckless drivers must be held liable in court.
Politis & Matovina, P.A. represents clients injured by distracted drivers. Contact our Daytona Beach car accident attorneys today to discuss your case in a free consultation.