Distracted Driving

A new report that has yet to be formally “released” is the latest and, by appearances, the most sobering yet on the evils of distracted driving – especially when our smartphones are the culprit.

The study conducted by researchers at the Risk Institute at The Ohio State University in Columbus (OSU) found that distracted driving raises the odds that an accident will result in severe injury or death when compared with crashes due to other causes, especially if the distraction-related wrecks involve rear-end mishaps or happen in work zones or on divided roadways.

“We can’t seem to put it (smartphones) down for a minute,” says Phillip Renaud, executive director of the Risk Institute. “We’re tempted to pick it up, look at it, because immediacy, immediacy of response, immediacy of information is so very important.”

A recently published study by AutoConnected Car News shows that 92 percent of drivers use their phones while driving, so it’s easy to understand the distressing conclusion that, as far as injuries and death are concerned, our roads and highways are becoming like a war zone.

In early 2017, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said that about nine percent of all fatal vehicle crashes the previous year were caused by distracted driving.

But the OSU analysis found that in-vehicle distractions accounted for almost half (48 percent) of crashes. Of course the research addressed ALL distractions, not just those represented by cellphones, even though they are the most pernicious distraction by far. The OSU Risk Institute also found that younger drivers – especially those between 20 and 24 years of age – account for the highest percentage of crashes due to both distracted driving and other causes.

The unpublished OSU Risk Institute paper was submitted to the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention, according to a spokeswoman. She also said part of the OSU study, which underwent peer review, has been scheduled for presentation at the upcoming Transportation Research Board’s annual conference in January, with the full report scheduled for publication shortly thereafter. A testament to the veracity and sobering conclusions of the OSU report is that completed – but as-yet unpublished – research is rarely presented to academic or industrial conferences prior to their scheduled publication date.

Several years ago, Allstate Insurance found that two-thirds of drivers who rate themselves very good or excellent, still admit to texting, speeding or engaging in other unsafe distracting behaviors.

“As [our phone is] sitting in our car, we always have the tendency to pick it up and say to ourselves, it’ll only take a second. I can just look at this for a second or two and everything is okay…not true,” says Renaud, the OSU Risk Institute’s executive director. And the disastrous consequences seem to be injuring and killing more victims than any of us may have previously thought.

If you or a family member has been injured by a distracted driver, you can count on the legal team at Kaplan Lawyers PC to fight for your right to full and fair compensation from negligent drivers. Contact us anytime by phoning the office nearest you or going through this website to schedule your free case evaluation.