Cell Phone Distractions Responsible for 24% of Car Crashes

As cell phone technologies have developed, we’ve spent a lot of time observing the impacts this technology has had in car accidents and other liability cases.

Data from a recent report from the National Safety Council confirmed our view that cell phones – or rather the distractions they cause – are one of the most dangerous sources of distraction facing drivers today.

Car accidents are prevalent enough being that they represent one of the top three ways a person can be injured or killed. They’re in fact the #1 cause of workplace deaths (…in terms of numbers).

In 2010, there were approximately 33,000 car accidents in the U.S. Of these, the National Safety Council estimates 24% involved cell phone use, which can be a particularly fatal threat to drivers and passengers.

While distractions are numerous, cell phone use while driving is particularly dangerous, not so much because it’s really that dangerous, but because so many drivers are doing it at greater lengths of time.

Talking on the phone while driving makes you 4 times as likely to get in a car crash.

Being engrossed in a conversation diverts your attention from the road in front of you even though your eyes are looking ahead. The more emotional the conversation, the greater the chance you will be distracted.

Justin Martinez, a teen-driver in Harris County, Texas, is an unfortunate case of where distractions from a cell phone can prove deadly.

Although Justin was a good driver, a 29-second phone call distracted him enough from noticing a stopped car in front of him. The car in fact was attempting to turn without a signal. Traveling in the lane next to him, Justin’s friends saw the danger and attempted to warn him.

By the time Justin realized the hazard, it was too late.

Justin swerved left to miss the stopped car but instead went into oncoming traffic and was t-boned by a white Mitsubishi, which was traveling at 36 mph (…Justin was traveling at 47 mph). The good student and stellar athlete was killed on the scene less than 200 yards from his home.

This story should serve as a good illustration of the dangers cell phone distractions can cause. If you must talk on the phone while driving, pull over when making/taking calls or purchase a wireless or hands-free device.

While cell phone technology has certainly revolutionized how we live and work, they can be distracting and lead to injury or death.

Protect yourself, your passengers and other drivers on the road by exercising good judgment. If you’re in traffic or you have to make a call you know is going to be even slightly emotional, pull off the road to make your call. April in fact marks the National Safety Council’s distracted driving awareness month.

If you’ve got a teenage son or daughter, take special care to warn them of the dangers of cell phone use and driving. The newest generation of drivers has known cell phones pretty much all of their lives. Be sure they know when and where they can be properly used.