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Risky phone use raises number of distracted drivers

A study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has found that drivers are 57% more likely to use their phones for texting, sending emails and surfing the web than for actually making a call. North Carolina residents should know that this means drivers are using their phones in riskier ways than before.

The study was based on observations of drivers in four Northern Virginia communities as they moved to, and stopped at, red lights. There were two observational surveys, one made in 2014 and the other in 2018. While researchers noted the rise in risky phone use, they did not find any evidence of an increase in driver distraction in general.

Manipulating a phone, rather than simply talking on it, raises the risk for a crash. In fact, it raises the chances of a fatal car crash by 66%. The IIHS estimates that more than 800 crash deaths in 2017 were the result of drivers manipulating their phones. These activities take drivers' eyes off the road, and even when they are talking on the phone, drivers will tend to focus on the center of the road and ignore the periphery.

Distracted driving, said to account for 10% of car crash deaths, is actually an underreported phenomenon. Many drivers refuse to hand their phones over to police.

When it is proven that distracted drivers caused motor vehicle accidents, then those who were the innocent victims might consider filing a claim. After all, if their injuries were severe, they might be left with medical bills and even a diminished capacity to earn a living. This is where legal representation may be of benefit. A lawyer may negotiate for a fair settlement, and if the other side won't cooperate, then the lawyer may prepare for a trial.

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