In 2012, drivers being distracted by cell phones in their vehicles caused 12% of the deaths in traffic accidents that year. That’s on record. However, it is believed that the reality is much more significant, since many drivers fail to admit they were on the phone at the time of the crash — or they perished in the wreck and are not able to explain what happened.
More and more research is being done on the impact of using a phone in the car by drivers. There are laws being passed regarding talking on the phone while the phone is being held. There are laws being passed in some states regarding hands-free (speaker) phone communications by drivers. Texting while driving is considered even more dangerous than talking while driving and many laws are in effect to ban this practice.
However, a new study from the University of Southern Maine takes things one step further and makes the dangers of accidents caused by phones even more scary. According to the research, many drivers are distracted and more likely to cause an accident if they have their phone with them in the car, even if they are not texting or talking on it.
According to the researchers, cell phones nearby, where you can see it, is enough to distract you from driving as well as all other sorts of tasks — like doing work or studying. The result? Apparently, people are so connected to their phones that part of their brains are continually aware of the gizmo even they are not actively using it at the time.
Bottom line: Drivers in Indiana and Illinois who are using their cell phones are more likely to be in a crash not just when they are talking or texting, but apparently they are also a bigger danger for all of us on the roads with them if they toss their phone on the seat next to them, or on the dashboard, and can simply SEE the phone there in the car with them.
It becomes even more important for police reports and accident scene investigations to notice and note where the location of cell phones are in accidents now. Distracted driving may or may not involve a crime, but it is an element of proving fault in a car accident where injury damages are being claimed.