Distracted driving and drunk driving have both been shown to significantly
impair driving ability and increase the risk of a serious crash. Yet most
Americans do not treat the high-risk driving behaviors the same. At any
given daylight moment, approximately 660,000 U.S. drivers are using cell
phones or other electronic devices while driving.
As California personal injury attorneys, we often see the tragic results
of distracted driving firsthand. To drive home the point, below are a
few surprising facts about distracted driving:
- In 2013, 3,154 Americans were killed in distracted driving crashes.
- Approximately 424,000 people were injured in distracted driving accidents
the same year, which represents an increase over 2012.
- Ten percent of drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were
reported as distracted at the time of the crash.
According to David Strayer, Ph.D., director of the University of Utah's
Applied Cognition Lab, many drivers continue to use their cell phones
behind the wheel because they believe that they can get away with it.
“You don't instantly crash on the road while talking on the
cell phone. And you don't instantly crash when you're drunk, either,”
Strayer says. “In the long run, if you do it enough, you're
going to put yourself at risk.”
detailed by EHS Today, Strayer also highlights that many drivers are over-confident in their
ability to drive safely while texting or talking on a cell phone. “We
have a tendency to overrate our own abilities,” Strayer explains.
“We think we're better-than-average drivers and we think we're
In a study conducted at the University of Utah, Streyer confirmed that
distracted driving should not be taken lightly and can be just as deadly
as driving impaired. “We directly compared drunk drivers and cell
phone drivers and found that cell phones were every bit as bad, if not
worse, as drunk driving,” Strayer explains.
The study revealed that the driving abilities of cell phone users are akin
to drivers with the legal blood-alcohol limit of 0.08 percent. The researchers
specifically found that cell phone users drove more slowly, were 9 percent
slower to deploy the brakes, displayed 24 percent more variation in following
distance, were 19 percent slower to return to normal speed after braking
and were more likely to crash.
The bottom line is that using a cell phone while driving compromises your
safety as well as the safety of other drivers on the road, just like drinking
and driving. Therefore, as San Diego injury lawyers, we urge all of our
readers to think twice before engaging in either activity.
If you or someone you care about has been seriously injured in a California
distracted driving accident, don’t hesitate to contact
a San Diego personal injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for
a free consultation.