Jeffrey E. Johnston

Report links mobile phone use to rise in traffic accidents

Practically every motorist in Georgia has either seen another driver using a smartphone or is guilty of the behavior themselves. The increase in smartphone ownership has produced a rise in traffic accidents, according to a study from the vehicle management company Motus. The company's research about distracted driving examined the mobile workforce. These workers either use company vehicles for their jobs or drive their personal vehicles while working.

Researchers charted the rise of smartphone ownership, which increased from 55 percent in 2013 to 77 percent in 2017. During this same period, accidents jumped from approximately 5.7 million to 6.4 million. This represented a 12.3 percent increase in crashes.

The report concluded that each member of the mobile workforce traveled 1,200 distracted miles per year. In addition to taking phone calls, these employees engaged in distractions like eating, running navigation apps or selecting music. Smartphone distractions are present during morning and evening commutes but actually peak among mobile workers between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Safety training can curtail the distractions afflicting mobile employees. The Motus CEO said that training workers to improve their driving skills and teaching them how to avoid risky behaviors can significantly reduce accident rates.

When a distracted driver causes a wreck, their actions could represent negligence. Someone injured by a distracted driver could ask an attorney how to prepare a personal injury lawsuit. An attorney could manage an accident investigation, which might be difficult for someone burdened by injuries or disability. To identify sources of compensation, an attorney could look at the negligent driver's insurance policy or personal assets. After tallying costs for the victim's lost income and medical bills, the lawyer could strive to negotiate a settlement either with an insurance adjuster or in court.

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