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Cell Phone Use and Car Accidents
Washington, DC, Maryland & Virginia Accident Lawyers
In 2010, the National Safety Council reported that approximately 28% of car accidents (1.4 million annually) occur because of cell phone use, and the number is expected to rise. Almost everyone who owns a cell phone will admit to using it while driving. Unfortunately, talking on a cell phone significantly interferes with your reaction time as a driver, and texting is even worse. The level of driver distraction brought on by cell phone use rivals that of drunk driving.
How Cell Phones Affect Your Reaction Time
Psychology professor and researcher David Strayer recently performed a study on young adults who talk on their cell phones when driving. On average, his test subjects – all between 18 and 25 years old – needed 18% more time to see and respond to brake lights from the cars ahead of them. Additionally, they took longer to re-adjust their speed after they initially slowed down.
The results were not affected by whether the cell phone was hands-free or hand-held. The main factor that affected each driver’s reaction time was divided attention. According to Strayer, cell phone use causes a 20-year-old old driver suffer from the same delayed reaction time of a 70-year-old driver.
Another study performed by Strayer and one of his colleagues found that drivers who talk on their cell phones are just as impaired as a driver who has a .08% BAC (Blood Alcohol Content), which is the legal limit in most states.
The Dangers of Texting While Driving
Texting while driving is even more dangerous than talking on your cell phone. Your reaction time deteriorates 35% when you text – far worse than the 18% caused by merely talking, and beyond the distraction level caused by drunk driving.
Texting forces you to remove your eyes from the road, remove one or both hands from the wheel, and turn your conscious attention to something other than driving. If you are traveling at 60 miles per hour, it only takes 2-4 seconds of inattention for a car accident to occur. These statistics become even more unsettling when you consider that almost half of all drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 have admitted to texting while driving.
If you have been injured in a car accident with a driver who was texting or talking on their cell phone, make sure you are getting the compensation you deserve. Please contact our experienced Maryland car accident attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. today for a free initial consultation.