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Drivers are using phones for riskier things than talking

Georgia residents should be aware that phone use continues to play a role in car crashes, even deadly ones. In 2017, some 800 crash fatalities were attributed to drivers who were using their phones while behind the wheel. Instead of talking, however, they were sending texts and engaging in other activities. Such activities are clearly more risky than talking because the latter is a cognitive distraction while the former constitutes both cognitive and visual distractions.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety researchers have compared the findings of two observational studies, one from 2014 and the other from 2018, and found that drivers are now 57% more likely to use their phones for purposes other than talking. In the two surveys, individuals in four Northern Virginia communities were observed approaching and stopping at red lights.

It should be noted that a driver using a phone while behind the wheel is dangerous in any circumstance. Even talking will cause drivers to focus entirely on the road's center and prevent them from processing everything they see. The two surveys also noted that simple activities like talking with children in the car or drinking coffee constitute distractions as well.

Some 8% to 10% of crash fatalities are related to distracted driving. While distracted driving rates have not risen significantly, this may be because distracted driving goes unreported.

Distracted driving is a form of negligence, so when it is to blame for motor vehicle accidents, it can open the way for personal injury claims on the part of those who were the innocent victims. In many cases, victims themselves partially contribute to a crash, in which case the amount they recover in damages will be lowered based on their degree of fault. Victims may want a lawyer by their side to ensure a reasonable settlement.

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