UTAH. According to Quartz, the number of people who were dying on U.S. roads had been on a steady decline. Then, people started using and buying smartphones. Traffic fatalities have increased by 14% over the last couple of years and many experts are blaming the smartphone for this increase. Yet, despite the fact that smartphones are a known distraction, federal data on exactly how many people are killed or injured due to smartphone use behind the wheel is hard to come by. According to Bloomberg, many deaths behind the wheel are not listed as deaths due to distracted driving or due to the use of a smartphone. In fact, Bloomberg notes that there might simply not be adequate data on the number of people killed each year due to distracted driving.
Despite the fact that deaths behind the wheel are growing, with many people attributing these deaths to smartphone use, the government has not necessarily been taking the time to count the number of accidents where smartphone use may have played a role. In fact, one distracted driving activist notes that in her mother’s car crash death, distracted driving was never listed as a cause of the accident. The driver responsible for the accident openly admitted to talking on the phone when the accident took place.
Frighteningly, the people who most often die in accidents involving distracted driving are the ones who are the most vulnerable. Pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists are more likely to be struck by a distracted driver. Drivers are simply looking out for big vehicles. They may not expect to find a pedestrian or a biker in their blind spot. Combine the difficulty of seeing pedestrians, bikers, and motorcyclists with the use of a cell phone and you have a recipe for disaster.
Activists are trying to raise public awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. Yet, until the government takes the time to compile the data to back up the risk, many of the deaths are based on estimate and correlation. The reality is that many distracted drivers admit to their behavior after an accident. In other cases, there may be evidence that distracted driving may have played a role in an accident, either through evidence found on a driver’s phone or social media times that match the accident. Yet, each state’s reporting practices vary. In some states, officers don’t even have the option of ticking off a box for distracted driving as a cause of accident in a police report. Investigating distracted driving can be challenging and may even require a warrant. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done.
Currently, many believe that the government’s estimate of deaths resulting from distracted driving is low. Studies have shown that distracted driving can be as deadly as drinking and driving, but the numbers reported don’t quite match what the research indicates. Many believe that the number of people hurt or killed by distracted drivers is seriously underreported. Furthermore, many Americans openly admit to using their phones while driving. In fact, a recent study reported by Bloomberg found that 88 percent of drivers used their phones at least once while driving.
If you or your loved one was hurt or killed in a car accident in Utah, consider speaking to the personal injury lawyers at the Truman Law Firm, P.C. Our firm understands how devastating distracted driving and smartphone use can be to the families impacted. We fight to help families seek justice after tragedy. Visit us at http://trumanlawfirm.com/ to learn more.