Mobile phones can help people stay safer on the road by preventing people from getting lost while traveling or giving them immediate access to emergency dispatchers after a crash. Unfortunately, drivers using phones remains one of the biggest causes of major collisions.
You may occasionally spot people bathed in blue light from a phone while driving or even notice that they don’t have their hands on the wheel. However, such glaringly obvious cases of distraction are few and far between.
Most drivers who use mobile technology while driving are more subtle in their habits. Realistically, how much do mobile phones really contribute to your crash risk?
Phones play a major role in many fatal crashes
Using a phone at the wheel is a perfect example of the different ways distraction affects your driving. You have to focus your eyes on your phone and your brain on the task of reading and responding to a message. Even your hands will likely have to come off the wheel, even if you use a talk-to-text system.
Data makes it clear that distracted driving is not a victimless crime. Researchers estimate that 14% of all fatal crashes involve someone using a phone. That statistic doesn’t mean that everyone texts while driving. Data implies that fewer than one in six drivers text at the wheel. What it reflects is another statistic about how distraction makes someone 23 times more likely to wind up in a crash.
Distraction paves the way for personal injury claims
Like the vast majority of other states, South Dakota has a statute against texting while driving. If you suspect that the driver who hit you was using their phone prior to the crash, you should notify the police officers responding to the collision of your suspicions.
There may be video evidence from other vehicles, traffic cameras or even nearby businesses that show someone looking down in their lap or holding their phone instead of watching the road. Since it is both a form of negligence and a violation of driving laws, you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against a distracted driver who hurts you if their insurance coverage isn’t enough to pay for all of the losses that you suffer.
Understanding how frequency driver distraction plays a role in serious crashes can help you advocate for yourself after a wreck.