AAA survey measures increase in drivers using cellphones

Drivers in New York too often give into the temptation to use their phones behind the wheel, and a national poll confirms the prevalence of distracted driving. A new survey of 2,613 licensed drivers by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed a 46 percent increase in drivers who admitted to talking on their phones while driving compared to a 2013 survey. The survey also asked people if they believed that distracted driver threatened safety, and 88 percent of respondents acknowledged the dangers.

Close to 50 percent of drivers said that they had spoken on a hand-held phone, and 45 percent had read text messages and emails. Another 35 percent responded that they had composed and sent texts or emails from their vehicles. A 58 percent majority of survey takers considered their cellphone use behind the wheel a serious danger. Even more people, 78 percent, viewed texting while driving as very dangerous. A minority at just above 40 percent believed that the law should completely ban the activities.

Previous studies conducted by the foundation showed that cellphone use by drivers drove up their chances of crashing by a factor of four. Texting increased the likelihood of car accidents by a factor of eight.

When a person is injured in a wreck caused by a driver distracted by a phone, the victim may seek compensation through a personal injury claim. The law may view distracted driving as negligence and make the driver liable for the victim's damages. Distracted driving might be difficult to prove, however, and the person might want the representation of an attorney familiar with litigating car accidents. An attorney may be able to launch an investigation that collects evidence about the cause of the crash.

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