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Phone addicts are speeding up the distracted driving epidemic

Drunk drivers pose a serious threat to everyone on the road. But are they the biggest problem for other drivers right now? According to one study, probably not. Phone addicts are creating a whole new problem and normalizing distracted driving.

Smartphones seem to be everywhere, and you may struggle to find a single person who does not own this type of technology. When used correctly, smartphones can be incredibly helpful. Many people in Texas use their phones for everything from applying for jobs to sharing family pictures with friends and loved ones. Unfortunately, the same things that make smartphones so useful can also make them addictive.

What is a phone addict?

According to the third annual Zendrive Distracted Driving Study, a phone addict is a person who uses his or her phone for at least 10% of driving time. It is important to note that since 10% is just the baseline for this definition, many phone addicts spend much larger portions of driving time staring at screens. Zendrive also recently conducted its first Distracted Driving Survey to accompany its annual study and spoke directly to drivers about cell phone habits behind the wheel. Some of the highlights of that survey include:

  • Researchers classified 47% of respondents as phone addicts.
  • Reports indicated that 90% of study participants believe they are safe drivers.
  • Of those participants, 85% acknowledged that distracted driving is dangerous.

This means that many phone addicts think they can safely operate motor vehicles even while on the phone. These drivers may feel reluctant to make changes since they do not associate phone use with dangerous driving behaviors. You may even know someone who refuses to acknowledge this type of problematic behavior.

Defining phone addict behavior

No two people are alike, and neither are their problems. While each person struggling with an addiction will have his or her own personal struggles, phone addicts generally share several of the same behaviors. Here are just some of the driving behaviors that phone addicts share:

  • They use their phones while driving three times as much as the average driver.
  • They ignore the road 28% of driving time.
  • They spend more time on the road than the general driving population.
  • They are more dangerous than drunk drivers.

The last point is extremely important. Peak hours for drunk drivers are from midnight to 3 a.m. Peak hours for phone-addicted drivers are much longer, and you are likely to encounter them anywhere from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Since these are only the peak hours, you can still find distracted drivers on the road at any time of day.

What makes phone addicts so dangerous?

Glancing at a phone might seem relatively harmless compared to other dangerous driving habits, such as speeding or driving under the influence. However, a driver who is on his or her cell phone will apply the brakes 9% slower than average, will be 19% slower when returning to a normal speed after applying the brakes and is overall more likely to be involved in a crash. Using a phone while driving is comparable to driving with a blood-alcohol content of .08%.

You know the risks of distracted driving, which is why you always keep your hands off your phone when behind the wheel. Unfortunately, the driver who caused your distracted driving accident did not take the matter as seriously as he or she should. If you are suffering from severe injuries, emotional trauma and the financial burden of related medical bills, you need help. If you are unsure of where to start, an experienced attorney can explain your options for pursuing the compensation you need.

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