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Studies reveal rampant use of smartphone while driving

A report into the habits of teen drivers compiled by researchers at Liberty Mutual will likely make difficult reading for parents of teenage drivers in Massachusetts and around the country. Almost 70 percent of the teens polled told researchers that they routinely use the apps installed on their smartphones while behind the wheel, and only 6 percent felt that this was the most distracting form of driver behavior. The results of a study of drivers of all ages sponsored by the nonprofit National Safety Council was equally alarming. Almost three quarters of the drivers surveyed by the NSC said that they had no problem accessing Facebook while driving. The problem has attracted more media attention in recent weeks due to the popularity of Nintendo’s smartphone game PokГ©mon GO. The augmented reality game has been downloaded millions of times, and it has already been linked with two distracted driving accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration say that driver distraction claims at least eight lives and causes more than 1,000 injuries every day on America’s roads, and studies indicate that the problem is particularly widespread among teens who often feel under pressure to respond to text messages right away. As sobering as these statistics are, many road safety experts believe that the problem could actually be far worse. While law enforcement officers have tools at their disposal that can quickly determine if a motorist has been drinking, distracted driving is often far more difficult for them to identify. An analysis of crash data led the National Safety Council to conclude that distracted driving likely plays a role in about a quarter of all American traffic accidents. Accidents involving distracted driving often cause catastrophic injuries because the negligent motorists involved rarely take any evasive action and other road users are rarely given sufficient time to react. Experienced personal injury attorneys representing car accident victims may study police reports and cellphone usage records for use as evidence when trying to establish fault.