According to researchers at the University of Utah, cell phone use can impair a driver just as much as a blood alcohol concentration of .08. Yet, according to a survey conducted by Nationwide Mutual Insurance in 2007, 73 percent of drivers talk on cell phones while behind the wheel. Distracted driving claims thousands of American lives every year. In fact, distraction-related crashes resulted in 3,092 traffic fatalities in 2010 alone. If a distracted driver has injured you or a loved one, an experienced Orlando injury attorney can help.
Cell Phone-Related Traffic Accidents
According to the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, cell phone distraction causes 2,600 deaths, 330,000 injuries and 1.5 million instances of property damage annually in the U.S. Moreover, cell phone use was reported in 18 percent of fatal distraction-related crashes in 2009, and the National Safety Council asserts that 28 percent of all traffic accidents occur when drivers are using cell phones.
In 2008, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reported that cell phone use roughly quadruples a driver’s risk of being involved in a car crash. Some people may think only hand-held devices are dangerous for drivers. However, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, “Studies comparing the risks associated with . . . hand-held and hands-free cell phones . . . have found them indistinguishable — both increase risk.” In fact, researchers who reviewed 84 studies of how cell phone use impacts driving performance found hand-held and hands-free devices affect driver reaction time almost identically.
Cell Phone Driving Laws
Growing concerns about the dangers of using a cell phone while driving have prompted many states to pass legislation restricting the use of cell phones by drivers. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, as of June 2012:
- 10 states and Washington DC had banned all drivers from using a handheld cell phone
- 39 states and Washington DC had prohibited text messaging by all drivers
- 32 states and Washington DC had banned novice drivers from using a cell phone and five states had prohibited text messaging by novice drivers
- 19 states and Washington DC had banned school bus drivers from using a cell phone and three states had prohibited text messaging by school bus drivers
Despite increasing awareness about the dangers of using a cell phone while driving, drivers around the country continue to talk and text. If a distracted driver caused your serious injuries or your love one’s wrongful death, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, funeral costs, and pain and suffering. To learn about your legal rights, contact a qualified Orlando injury lawyer today.