The use of smartphones while driving is a widespread problem, with 7 in 10 individuals admitting to using a smartphone while operating a vehicle, according to a survey conducted by AT&T. Distracted driving involving a digital device has now gone beyond texting to include surfing the web, video chats and taking “selfies” while driving.
The social networking sites most commonly used by drivers while operating a vehicle include Facebook (17 percent), Twitter (14 percent), Instagram (14 percent) and Snapchat (11 percent), according to the study.
The study showed that texting is still the No. 1 driving distraction involving a smartphone, with 61 percent of respondents saying they text and drive. Emailing came in second at 33 percent, while 12 percent of those polled admitted to shooting videos while driving and 10 percent admitted to video chatting while driving.
After conducting the poll, which included 2,067 people in the United States between the ages of 16 and 65, AT&T decided to expand its original “It Can Wait” no-texting-and-driving campaign to include all social media platforms.
Surprisingly, 27 percent of those surveyed believed that it was possible to shoot a video behind the wheel safely, and 30 percent of individuals who posted on Twitter while driving admitted to doing it “all of the time.” Nearly half of all individuals admitted to texting while driving, and 75 percent of the teenagers polled said that their friends commonly text and drive.
In 2012, AT&T conducted a study that found that 49 percent of teens admitted to texting while driving. In that same year, the Department of Transportation declared texting and cell phone use while driving to be a “national epidemic,” and spent $2.4 million to combat the problem. In the more recent study conducted by AT&T, however, it was shown that individuals of every age group – not just teenagers – are using digital devices behind the wheel.
According to Distraction.gov, distracted driving caused 3,154 deaths and approximately 424,000 injuries in the most recent reported year. It also states that at any given moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving.
Although all driver distractions are dangerous, texting behind the wheel is particularly perilous because the activity demands visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver – attention that should be focused on the road. The same is true of using a smartphone to post on social media, video chat or take selfies.
AT&T has been advocating against not only texting and driving, but also against any use of a smartphone that can distract drivers. The company has asked individuals to pledge to keep their eyes on the road, not on their phones. More than 6 million have made the pledge so far.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident and you believe that texting or other smartphone distractions played a role, speak with a Memphis car accident attorney as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and other damages.