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Distracted drivers put everyone at risk

In years past, a distracted driver might have been changing a radio station or munching on a burger from a fast food restaurant. Now, distracted driving often involves something much more dangerous -- smart phones.

Drivers across Pennsylvania struggle to put down their phones and focus on the road ahead of them. Car manufacturers now install crash prevention technology and warning systems to encourage drivers to put their phones away, but recent research indicates this might not be that effective.

Crash prevention technology does not affect phone use

Researchers from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety performed a study to examine the effects of warning systems on cell phone use behind the wheel. Initially, researchers hypothesized that drivers would begin to focus more on the road and less on other distractions.

The group analyzed two different studies, the first of which included over 100 adult drivers, while the second examined 40 drivers between the ages of 16 and 17 years old. The studies showed that warning systems did not affect how often drivers engaged in distracting behaviors, and neither encouraged them to focus more closely nor provided a false sense of security in which to use their phones more often.

Distracted driving is more common than you think

When the warning systems were engaged, both the adult and teenage drivers engaged in distracting behaviors 46 percent of the time. These behaviors included the following:

  • Talking on a phone
  • Physically manipulating or looking at a phone
  • Personal grooming
  • Speaking to a passenger

Younger drivers were also more likely to engage in these behaviors than older adults were. In the study, 57 percent of teens engaged in at least one -- although sometimes more -- distracting behaviors. For drivers between the ages of 60 and 70, researchers observed this behavior only 39 percent of the time.

Distracted driving is dangerous

A driver looking at his or her phone will not have time to apply the brake before a crash. Someone focusing on his or her eyebrows in a rearview mirror may not notice a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Every day, distracted drivers gamble with not just their own safety, but also the safety of everyone else on the road.

Injuries from distracted driving accidents tend to be severe, putting you out of work for weeks or even months. Personal injury claims are often the most effective course of action for achieving compensation related to your injuries, giving you the financial support it takes to achieve the best recovery possible. Proving negligence can be difficult though, and many victims find that an experienced Pennsylvania lawyer can provide invaluable guidance.

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