Cell phone use is an increasingly common cause of accidents

As Indiana Injury Attorneys, practicing out of our Indianapolis offices, we are very concerned about the use of cell phones and driving.  Cell phone use is an increasingly common cause of accidents by young drivers.  However, this problem is not just limited to the young.  As the cell phone distracts the driver, it matters not their age or experience level, if the driver is distracted, problems occur.  Anecdotally, I ride my bike to work several days a week.  My route takes me six miles along roads that have only marginal traffic flow.  I do this on purpose so as to not interfere with drivers, and to not place myself in danger from those drivers.  From the perspective of my bike, I see a lot of driver mistakes being made.  Most, fortunately have not ended in collisions, but some have.  Of all the mistakes I have seen, most of the drivers are talking on a cell phone.  In fact, that is so common, I am now surprised when I see a mistake and the driver is not talking on cell phone.

Newer cars and phones have blue tooth accessibility.  If the car does not have Bluetooth, an ear piece can be used.  Is this use of a cell phone safer while driving? A University of Utah study demonstrated that “[b]oth handheld and hands-free cell phones impaired driving, with no significant difference in the degree of impairment.” Reference the University of Utah News Center, “Drivers On Cell Phones Are As Bad As Drunks”, (2006), www.unews.utah.edu/p/?r=062206-1.    The study found that drivers on cell phones are slower to engage the brakes, were less inclined to maintain proper following distances, and were more likely to crash.   The National Safety Council issued a white paper in 2010 indicates that talking on a cell phone, whether handheld or hands-free, increased the risk of accident four fold.

As Indianapolis Accident and Injury Attorneys working all over the State of Indiana for Hoosiers seriously injured by negligent drivers, we are very concerned about the dangers that cell phone use while driving creates.  We have seen, firsthand, Hoosiers dealing with spinal cord injury, paralysis, broken bones, brain injury, amputations, all because the driver was distracted by cell phone use.  The Utah study likened the distractions caused by cell phone use to a drunk driver causing a drunk driving accident with a blood alcohol level of .08, the legal limit from driving while intoxicated.

Be careful out there.  Get off that cell phone while driving.  Your child wants you home safe, and all the others human beings on the road want to get home safe to their families.

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