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Study looks at distraction levels in driver cell phone use

According to a new report from the National Safety Council, the use of a cellphone while driving may be more dangerous than many of us previously thought. The study found that cellphone use was behind 26 percent of traffic accidents in 2013. Interestingly, only 5 percent of such crashes take place because of texting. The real problem appears to be conversations on either handheld or hands-free phones.

In terms of which is better—hand-held or hands-free—the report looked at the way different tasks affect a driver’s mental concentration. What they found was that driving and talking on a handheld phone was rated at 2.45 for workload, while talking on a hands-free device ranked at 2.27, so only slightly better. Speech-to-text applications rank at 3.06. Reaction time, which is a separate issue, is basically the same with hand-held and hands-free devices. 

All of this is to say, of course, that cell phones present a serious obstacle in terms of getting drivers to pay attention to the task at hand. Whether you’re talking about texting or talking, the possibility of a serious accident is significantly increased.

Those who are harmed by a distracted driver need to know that they have the right to seek the compensation they need and to hold offending parties accountable. Not every case requires litigation to be satisfactorily resolved. In some cases offending parties are willing to settle. In other cases, litigation is necessary.

Working with an experienced attorney is important for accident victims. Doing so will increase the possibility of a more efficient resolution and likely ensure a better result. 

Source: USA Today, “Cellphone use causes over 1 in 4 car accidents,” Gabrielle Kratsas, March 28, 2014. 

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