Study Finds Drivers Surf the Web, Take Selfies, Video Chat and More
We just got a call from a woman who was crashed into during the big rain storm on Wednesday. How did the wreck happen? A man in a pickup truck rear ended her car as he was taking pictures of an overflowing river. We see risky driving behavior like this all the time. In a deposition last week, the at-fault driver admitted that he never saw my client’s huge SUV before he hit her and caused her to have back surgery.
OK, I’m so old that I remember when noone had a cell phone (I got my driver’s license in 1970). Now everyone has one and a frightening 70 percent of drivers say they are watching cat videos, or Facebooking friends, or sending photos of that hilarious street sign while also operating the vehicle. During the periods of smartphone activity, there is essentially noone behind the wheel.
The Dangerous Smartphone Phenomenon
A new study from by AT&T reveals that people do these smartphone activities while driving:
- 61 percent text
- 33 percent email
- 28 percent surf the Internet
- 27 percent Facebook
- 17 percent snap selfies or photos
- 14 percent Twitter
- 14 percent Instagram
- 12 percent shoot videos
- 11 percent Snapchat
- 10 percent video chat
Worse, 27 percent of people who shoot a video while driving believe they can do so safely. One-third of people surveyed actually don’t realize how dangerous their actions are. And 30 percent of people said they tweeted while driving “all the time.”
Texas Needs Laws To Control This Dangerous Practice
People who might otherwise behave with relative caution engage in one of the riskiest possible behaviors because they simply don’t view it as a problem. Education is not enough. We need laws that reflect the seriousness of these actions. People aren’t swayed by the theoretical threat of an accident that they honestly don’t believe is likely. A threat of an expensive traffic ticket, however, feels very real and delivers an immediate consequence to risky behavior.
This approach worked to promote seat belt use. Drivers in states with primary enforcement laws were more likely to buckle up than states that allowed a police officer to ticket a driver for non-seat belt use only if she or he committed another traffic infraction. We need the same type of anti-texting laws on the books. Too bad our State Senate just blocked the bill that had been passed by the House of Representatives that would have made this happen.
We Can Help You
If you were crashed into by a distracted driver, schedule a free consultation at our Dallas-Fort Worth office by calling 817.885.8000 or 1-888-801-8585. We are here to help you recover the compensation you deserve.