New York prohibits the use of portable electronic devices among drivers. Despite this, many have no sense of how dangerous it is to text or call while behind the wheel. The Society for Risk Analysis has recently conducted a situation-based analysis of drivers’ likelihood to engage in distracted behavior based on several factors. One of those factors is a negative view of road safety.
The study also analyzed the behavior of people with fewer inhibitions, less experience driving and strong intentions of driving while distracted. As expected, all four groups were at a higher risk. More people called than texted because of the latter’s visual demands. It appears that many drivers have enough self-regulation to use their phones only when stopped at intersections with traffic lights. Others avoid phone use when traffic is heavy, and law enforcement is present.
Still, all phone use when driving is dangerous. Talking on the phone increases crash risk by 2.2 times, and texting ups the odds by 6.1 times. Sixty-eight percent of participants said that it would require a lot to convince them of the dangers of texting and driving.
Researchers hope that these results will help in the creation of more effective campaigns. They support high-visibility police enforcement programs but say that campaigns must address drivers’ various motivations. They should also target high-risk groups, like novice drivers.
When drivers get in car accidents through no fault of their own, they will want to gather as much evidence against the responsible parties as possible. That way, they can file a third-party insurance claim and possibly be compensated for their medical bills, vehicle damage, pain and suffering and other losses. A lawyer could step in, evaluate the claim and let experts gather the proof, including the police report and any eyewitness testimony. An attorney can then begin negotiations.