Poll Reveals Distressing Rise in Distracted Driving

Dallas News reports that distracted driving is on the rise, alongside accidents on the nation’s roads. The US Department of Transportation’s data shows in that in 2011, there were about 5.3 million accidents, and the figure jumped to close to 6.3 million accidents for 2015. While the accident rate increase has more than one cause, a primary factor that is worrying safety advocates is driving while distracted. A recent Harris poll that was carried out for NerdWallet seems to support this concern completely.

According to the Harris poll, about 67 percent of Americans have driven in the last year while using a cellphone. It’s worth noting that 14 percent of all fatal crashes with distracted driving as a factor involved mobile phone use in 2015, according to the US Department of Transportation’s data.

Among the people who admitted to using their phone in the poll, 38 percent said they texted while they drove, and 13 percent said they almost went off the road, weaved in and out of lanes and nearly had an accident or did have an accident.

In addition to cell phone use while driving, 62 percent of respondents said they were distracted by things beside a cellphone while driving over the last year. The leading category by far in this section was eating, with 58 percent saying they did it, followed by 10 percent of drivers admitting to grooming while driving. Caring for a child in the backseat accounted for 9 percent, while laptop use made up 7 percent. Changing clothes came in at 5 percent, and drinking alcohol clocked in at 4 percent. Other reported distractions included reading, putting feet outside of the car while using cruise control, and playing an instrument.

While it appears likely that the rise in electronic use will continue to be a problem on the roads, the tech sector is now taking some proactive measures when it comes to curbing distracted driving. As reported by Tech Radar, the new operating system for Apple devices coming this fall, iOS 11, has a feature that will detect when someone is driving and silence all notifications. Users can even set it so that their Apple device sends an automatic text message response to incoming messages that indicates they are currently driving.

Smartphone apps that help people avoid distracted driving are also available for many devices. SafeDrive, for example, lets safe drivers earn points to use to discounts on services and products. AT&T’s DriveMode silences alerts and sends auto-replies to messages received on a driver’s phone. For parents with teen drivers, there’s LifeSaver, an app that locks the phone when the teen is driving and sends automatic messages when he or she has arrived at the destination. This app is also available for businesses that have fleet vehicles.

Distracted driving has resulted in minor, major and fatal accidents all over the country. If you’ve been injured because of a distracted driver, speak to an experienced auto and motorcycle accident lawyer Denver CO trusts as soon as possible about all of your rights.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into distracted driving.