Study: Traffic Deaths Spike In United States Due to Increase in Distracted Driving

Traffic Deaths

We posted recently with regards to the troubling rise in traffic fatalities in the United States in 2015.  It was the sharpest rise in traffic deaths in the country in 50 years.  More recently, we followed that information up with another look at traffic deaths in the United States.  They continued to climb upward during the first half of 2016.  People are taking notice of this growing problem.  They are beginning to dig into possible reasons as to why this is happening.  One company has recently completed a study that looks at car accident fatalities.  The study concludes that a big reason for this problematic statistical trend is the prevalence of distracted driving in the United States.  Not only are more people seemingly driving while distracted, but this distracted driving appears to be occurring in relatively defined areas.

About the Traffic Deaths Study

A company known as TrueMotion completed the study.  TrueMotion programs apps that are geared towards improving driver safety by way of providing scores for motorists’ driving.  As part of its ongoing research, the company looked into why traffic deaths continue to climb in the United States.  Many experts believe that distracted driving is the culprit.  Until now there was really no way to quantify that notion one way or the other except through surveys of drivers.  Clearly, these results can be inaccurate for several reasons.

TrueMotion integrated its technology into vehicles and studied a sample of 7,595 drivers who took more than 520,000 trips in their vehicles.  These trips covered more than 4.8 million miles and more than 157,000 hours.  The technology uncovered the following data:

  • 7,042 of the 7,595 drivers used their phone in some way while driving.
  • That equates to nearly 93 percent of all of the recorded drivers.
  • Drivers were distracted while behind the wheel 21 percent of the time they were in the vehicle.
  • That equates to nearly 33,000 hours of distracted driving.
  • Drivers had a phone in their hand 18 percent of the time they were behind the wheel.
  • Motorists spent 6 percent of their driving time on phone calls.
  • 71 percent of the drivers sent or received and read text messages while driving.

Based on several different recent driver surveys, these actual data reveal that drivers under-report their use of a phone while driving by nearly 50 percent.  Only about half of the percentage of drivers who had been texting while driving admitted to doing so in previous surveys.  Those interested in reading the full breakdown can find it here.

Clearly, distracted driving is a much bigger problem than many had previously thought.  It seems quite plausible that the spike in traffic deaths in recent months has a lot to do with people simply taking their focus away from the road.

Most Popular Apps While Driving

TrueMotion also studied the types of apps that people tend to use while driving.  The researchers did so by recording 9,164 trips.  The technology recorded 251 drivers who were using Android.  This effort revealed the following 10 apps as the most popular while people were driving:

  1. Google Maps
  2. Pokémon Go
  3. Android Messaging (texting app)
  4. Facebook
  5. YouTube
  6. Waze
  7. Amazon Music
  8. Chrome
  9. Pandora
  10. Netflix

We have already pointed out more than once that playing Pokémon Go while driving is a growing problem.  We have also tried to bring about awareness to the dangers of what is becoming commonly known as “app and drive.”  App and drive is just another dangerous form of distracted driving.  The tendency for motorists to drive while distracted does not appear to have changed.  What has changed is the number of distractions available to motorists.

Most and Least Distracted Driving States

Finally, TrueMotion broke the drives used in this study down by state and district in order to identify the most and least distracted jurisdictions in the United States.  These rankings are as follows:

Most Distracted States (worst to 10th worst):

  1. Mississippi
  2. North Carolina
  3. California
  4. Washington, D.C.
  5. Louisiana
  6. Wyoming
  7. Virginia
  8. Maryland
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Nebraska

Least Distracted States (best to 10th best):

  1. Vermont
  2. Maine
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Oregon
  5. South Dakota
  6. North Dakota
  7. Michigan
  8. New Mexico
  9. New York
  10. Washington

California Distracted Driving Statistics

The study above shows that it is difficult to quantify distracted driving.  However, the California Office of Traffic Safety, or OTS, does provide some data regarding this problem.  According to OTS:

  • More than 425,000 people were convicted of using a handheld phone or texting while driving in 2013.
  • In 2014, 61 percent of California drivers said they had been hit or nearly hit by another motorist who was using a phone in some way.
  • 40 percent of California drivers believe that texting while driving or talking on the phone while driving are the biggest risks to safety on the roads.
  • More than half of all drivers admitted to making at least one driving mistake while using a phone in 2014.

It’s safe to say that millions of people in California are guilty of distracted driving from time to time.  It also seems logical that cell phones, texting and apps are a big part of this serious problem.

How a San Diego Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

When people drive while they are distracted, they are generally acting in a negligent manner.  That’s because these motorists are breaching their duty of care to others who may be affected by their decisions at the time.  If a distracted driver causes a car accident that results in injuries or fatalities, that person could and likely should face legal liability.

Every car accident that leads to serious injuries and/or fatalities also results in significant financial and quality-of-life losses.  If a distracted driver has harmed you or someone you love, take action as soon as possible.  Contact a San Diego personal injury lawyer at Gomez Trial Attorneys as soon as possible to schedule a free initial consultation.

 

Posted in: Motor Vehicle Accidents, Wrongful Death
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