Do otherwise safe drivers make an exception for social media?

On Behalf of | Aug 15, 2016 | Car Accidents

A recent article reminds us that any use of a smartphone or cell phone behind the wheel may be viewed as negligent, and why such behavior is also illegal in 48 states.

The story involved a driver who admitted to making an electronic payment via his cell phone. Unfortunately, that momentary glance down resulted in tragedy: He struck and killed a little girl. The driver has had to answer for his actions in both criminal and civil trials, but one wonders whether any judgment could ease the grief of the girl’s surviving family.

Do distracted driving campaigns need to be revised? A recent poll of 2,500 teenagers across the country, conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Driving, indicates that the dangers of texting and driving are acknowledged. The survey participants were asked to rank different kinds of behaviors. Notably, one-quarter of those surveyed ranked texting and driving as the most dangerous or distracting behavior that a teen could do behind the wheel. Only driving under the influence of alcohol ranked ahead, capturing 29 percent of the responses.

Yet the dangers of any smartphone or cell phone use behind the wheel may not be fully appreciated. For example, only 6 percent of participants in that same survey ranked using social media as the most dangerous behavior. According to another survey of 2,400 drivers of all ages, almost 70 percent admitted to using smartphone apps behind the wheel. According to another survey, the most popular app used is Facebook. No wonder that one commentator has described public perception of distracted driving behaviors as a blurry, rather than bright line.

Source: CNN, “Driving While Distracted: It’s not just texting anymore,” Kelly Wallace, Aug. 2, 2016

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