Does Restricting Cell Phone Use While Driving Make for Safer Drivers?
There is a significant push throughout the country to decrease cellphone usage while driving. This makes sense on the surface – after all, distracted driving is blamed for the significant increase not just in car accidents but in fatal accidents. However, an interesting question has arisen that brings this seemingly obvious conclusion into question.
The Questions the Study Hoped to Answer
The study, which was done by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), had two questions it was trying to answer. First, whether or not a driver who stopped using their cell phone simply changed to doing something else that was distracting. Second, whether or not a driver who changed their cell phone use while driving changed how much time they spent looking away from the road while driving.
How the Study Worked
105 people volunteered for the study. The study monitored their day-to-day driving behavior for a year. It looked at how much of driving time during trips was spent on secondary tasks that involved looking away from driving, and then how that time was correlated to how much time was spent on cellphones.
The Results of the Study
The study found that the drivers studied spent 42% of their time while driving engaging in at least one secondary activity. This included:
- 7% on cell phones
- 5% interacting with cellphones in some other way
- 33% with another type of secondary activity (sometimes while engaging with their cellphones)
- 12% interacting with other people in the car
- 6% holding an object
- 5% talking or singing to themselves
The study also found that drivers looked forward just over 80% of the time, forward and to the right or left 5% of the time, and in a mirror 4% of the time. About 10% of their driving time was spent with their eyes off driving tasks.
Most relevant to the purpose of the study, they found that for each 1% a person reduced their time on a cellphone while driving, their secondary behavior rate went down by about 0.25%. What does this mean? It means that while people may replace phone-related distractions with other distractions, it appears that they are still less distracted, overall, than when they were using their cellphones.
What to Do if You Are Injured in a Vehicle Accident
Whether you are a perfect driver who never takes their eyes off the road, or you were recently involved in an accident in which you were partially at fault and on your phone, there may be legal options available to you. It is worth calling Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 to request a free legal consultation. We can help you determine what your best options are. Call now and we look forward to helping you through this difficult time.