In a recent study performed by the American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAAFTS), data showed that while many drivers agree that dealing with text messaging and cellphones while behind the wheel, a staggering percentage still practice both.
According to the survey, 35 percent of motorists claim to have read or sent text messages while driving within the past month. Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed stated that they had spoken on a cellphone while operating a vehicle within the past month and nearly a third of them claimed to do so on a regular basis. The contradicting information in the survey found that nearly all of the drivers surveyed agreed that cellphone usage while driving was a serious threat to their safety. Ninety-five percent of the drivers asked believed that text messaging while driving is a serious threat, while 88 percent claimed that any cellphone use was a serious threat.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), 5,474 people were killed and approximately 448,000 were injured in 2009 in accidents that were directly related to distracted driving practices like cellphone use. These numbers account for roughly 16 percent of all traffic deaths during that period.
US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, “In just two-and-a-half years we have raised this issue to a level that it took drunken driving and seat belts and other safety issues much longer to do, and they had bigger budgets. We’ve done all this just by using the bully pulpit. We’ve got the car companies attention. We’ve got the public’s attention. We’ve got law enforcement’s attention. But the bottom line is we have a long way to go to convince people to put their cellphones and BlackBerrys in the glove compartment when they’re driving.”
As a Bellingham car accident attorney, I’ve seen the results of distracted driving and understand the severity of this growing epidemic. I urge all motorists to practice safe driving practices while behind the wheel in order to keep everyone safe on our roads. If you’ve been injured in an accident that you believe was caused by the distracted driving of another, it may be in your best interests to speak with a car accident lawyer in your city to learn more about your rights in the matter.