Even just 10 years ago, smart phone technology at the complexity and availability that we have today was relegated to the pages of starry-eyed technology articles, optimistic tech companies, and futuristic television shows and movies. The first iPhone didn’t come out until mid-2007, and anybody who owned one of those clunkers can attest that we’ve come a long way since then. Fast-forward back to the present, and we now live in a world where, literally, almost 100 percent of people under the age of 50 own a smart phone. Statistics from State Farm’s 2015 annual distracted driving survey showed that 99 percent of people aged 18-29 owned one, 97 percent of people aged 30-39 owned one, 92 percent of people aged 40-49 owned one, and a whopping 74 percent of people aged 50+ own one as well.
Age is no longer a factor in owning a smart phone, which could be described with no trace of hyperbole as “distraction machines” when you’re on the road. Texting, apps, on-demand video, social media and relentlessly-updating emails provide a buffet of content that we have never been more addicted to or reliant upon. Some statistics indicate that more than 600,000 people are attempting to use their phones in some capacity while behind the wheel of a car at any given moment during the day. Although people admitting to sometimes talking on the phone while driving has decreased significantly from 65 percent in 2009 to 51 percent in 2015, the much more dangerous practice of texting and driving increased from 31 percent in 2009 to 36 percent in 2015.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic deaths have risen more than 10 percent in the first half of 2016 than during the first half of 2015, indicating a frightful trend. In 2014, 3,179 Americans died on the road as a result of distracted driving incidents.
Teens at higher risks than anybody
According to AAA, teens are involved in more driving accidents than any other age group of people. In 2013, about 963,000 drivers aged 16-19 were involved in police-reported accidents, resulting in 383,000 injuries and 2,865 deaths. According to data from AAA and the NHTSA, about 58 percent of all teen accidents and 10 percent of teen driving fatalities involved some element of distracted driving. A 2015 study utilized cameras to observe distracted driving incidents, and showed that distracted drivers had their eyes off the road for over four seconds. In rear-end incidents, half of the distracted teens observed were so distracted that they didn’t even attempt to stop before making impact. Although it’s hard to tell teenagers they aren’t invincible, these kinds of careless decisions can have much more dire consequences.
Educate and protect yourself in a distracted world
Parents of teenagers and young adults must be more vigilant and nag more seriously than ever about not getting distracted behind the wheel. There is simply nothing more important while operating a two-ton machine than to be aware of your surroundings and 100 percent attentive to the road in front of you. At the same time, any motorist must now be much more aware of other drivers, since you never know if they are driving while distracted.
Checking a tweet, updating Facebook or responding to a text message asking what your estimated time of arrival to the mall is will never be worth potentially injuring or killing yourself or somebody else. Even further, you will lose any legal case brought against you if it is revealed you were distracted by a phone while driving.
If you were victimized by a distracted driver, you are entitled to compensation for their careless actions. At Altman & Altman, we have over 40 years of experience seeking settlements and taking responsible parties to court in order to secure the money you will need to handle medical bills, pain and suffering and time missed from work. Call us today at 617-492-3000 or toll-free at 800-481-6199. We are available 24/7 for a free consultation with one of our legal professionals, and we receive no payment unless you are successful in your claim.