A somewhat humorous Farmers Insurance commercial with spokesperson J.K. Simmons (who will always be Dr. Emil Skoda in my mind) demonstrates the dangers and hazards of distracted driving. The commercial warns against not only drunk driving, but driving while texting, talking on a cell, talking with passengers, putting on make-up, reading directions or a magazine, or listening to loud music. The list of stupid things we have all done while driving a vehicle would be longer than this blog post.
The fact, however, is that distracted driving, in particular distraction from a cell phone, plays a massive part in the number and severity of auto accidents on the road today. According to a study reported by the Hartford Courant:
- Smart-phone users are four times more likely to be involved in a serious auto accident;
- 5474 people were killed on the roads in accidents linked to distracted driving;
- 20 percent of all injury related accidents involved distracted driving;
- Using a cell phone while driving can have a similar or worse impact than driving while intoxicated.
If you are involved in an auto accident and you believe that the other driver was distracted by a cell phone or other reason, it is important to report this to the police, your insurance company, and your personal injury attorney. If liability (fault) is disputed or in question, proving that the other side was distracted while driving may swing the liability decision your way. In the meantime, recognize and appreciate the danger that cell phones can present in the car because they can be as dangerous as drunk driving.