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Distracted driving remains a problem despite laws against it

Ever since cellphones became a staple in American culture we have seen an increase in car accidents caused by distracted driving. In response many laws have been enacted throughout the country in effort to convince people to put down their devices and drive.

Unfortunately, though, this has proven to be an extremely difficult task, especially as Americans are becoming more attached to their devices than ever. As a recent survey shows, drivers are less likely to talk on their hand-held devices today than they were several years ago, but they are more likely to engage in other behaviors that are just as dangerous such as emailing and surfing the Internet.

State Farm insurance has conducted a survey each year since 2009 in effort to check drivers' opinions and practices when it comes to distracted driving. This year, the survey of approximately 1,000 drivers ages 18 and older who own a cellphone found that fewer drivers admit to talking on their hand-held devices while driving compared to six years ago.

On the other hand, roughly the same number of drivers admitted to texting while driving this year compared to in 2009. Additionally, the percentage of drivers who conceded to accessing the Internet while driving has doubled since 2009, as has the percentage of drivers who admit to accessing social media networks such as Facebook or Twitter.

Finally, the percentage of drivers who said they read emails while behind the wheel also increased dramatically since 2009.

Under California's state laws, all drivers are prohibited from using a hand-held cellphone while driving, and there is a ban on texting for all drivers. Additionally, drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from all cellphone use (including hands-free) while driving.

In our next post we will discuss how distracted driving affects liability in car accident cases.

Source: USA Today, "Drivers talk on cell phones less but surf, e-mail more," Larry Copeland, November 18, 2014

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