Cellular phones have become increasingly popular over the last few years. In fact, you may find it difficult to find a person who does not have one. In a recent Harvard study, the number of cell phone subscribers has grown from 94 million in 2000 to more than 128 million today. With so many cell phone users out there, it is not difficult to imagine how many people talk on the phone while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that 85 percent of all cell phone customers talk on the phone while driving. It has been estimated that 6 percent of auto accidents each year are caused by drivers talking on their phones. This total means 2,600 people will be killed and 330,000 will be injured in cell phone related car accidents this year.
Today, only New York bans drivers from using cell phones while driving statewide. A dozen other states have proposed similar bills only to have them die in committee. This is partly due to the millions of cell phone users out there with some politicians being among them. Some cities have banned drivers from using cell phones while driving and suggest drivers pull over before making a call or use hands-free devices while the car is in motion. The NHTSA is hesitant to agree that hands-free legislation would reduce the risk of collision. Their research suggests that the general distraction of being engaged in a conversation is more often to blame than dialing or holding the phone.
Employees are often required to make business calls while driving, especially people in sales positions. If you have been injured by an automobile accident caused by someone using a cell phone for business purposes, there is a possibility that the employer could be liable for the employee’s negligence.
Cell phones are, however, lifesavers to have with you in case of emergencies. Each day, 100,000 calls to 911 are made from cell phones. Some experts suggest drivers carry a phone with them when traveling but recommends people not use them while driving. Results of a recent survey indicate 87 percent of adults believe that using a cell phone while driving impairs a person’s ability to drive. Also, 2 out of 5 people admitted to having close calls or near misses with a driver who was on the phone. Since the evidence clearly shows that talking on the phone while driving increases the risk of accidents, if you must talk on the phone while driving use these 5 tips to reduce the risk:
Use hands-free devices such as an earpiece or phone cradle whenever possible
Never look up numbers or take notes while driving
Make calls when you are not moving or before pulling out into traffic
Try to keep conversations short and don’t make calls for social visiting while driving
When in heavy traffic, hazardous weather, or stressful situations, do not use your phone
With advances in technology such as internet connections on phones and other portable devices, the distractions will only become greater in the future. Until laws are passed prohibiting the use of cell phones while driving, the only recourse for an injured victim of a distracted driver is a personal injury lawsuit based on the negligence of the driver.
If you have been involved in an automobile accident that you feel may have been caused by a distracted driver or a someone driving while using a cell phone, you need the knowledge and resources of experienced personal injury lawyers who are willing to investigate an accident to the fullest to ensure that their clients get just and adequate compensation for their injuries.