Jeffrey E. Johnston

IIHS finds rise in riskier ways of phone use among drivers

Talking on the phone is a serious form of distraction, one seen in many drivers across Georgia. However, using a phone to send texts or surf the web is more dangerous as it takes a driver's eyes completely off the road. Unfortunately, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more and more drivers are using their phones for these activities that exclude talking.

The IIHS compared two observational surveys from 2014 and 2018, finding that the latter drivers were 57 percent more likely to use their phones for other things than talking. The surveys focused on drivers in four communities in Northern Virginia as they approached red lights.

According to IIHS estimates, every year in the U.S., there are more than 800 car crash fatalities due to drivers operating their phones for reasons other than calling. This type of phone operation raises the risk of a fatal car crash by 66 percent. It should be kept in mind that other activities, including eating, drinking and conversing with passengers, can divert drivers' attention from the road.

Though distracted driving is said to be behind 8 to 10 percent of all car crash deaths, it remains widely underreported. Many drivers involved in accidents will lie about what they were doing after the fact. They may also refuse to have law enforcement officers inspect their phones.

Distracted driving can be hard to prove, so those who believe they have good grounds for a personal injury case will want a lawyer to work for them. Personal injury attorneys can utilize a network of professionals, including medical experts and investigators, to bolster their clients' cases. Lawyers can also handle all negotiations on their clients' behalf and litigate as a last resort. If successful, victims can be compensated for medical expenses, vehicle damage, lost wages and more.

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