This is not the kind of behavior Americans should be aiming to be exceptional. A new study finds that American drivers are much more frequent users of cell phones and electronic communication devices while driving, compared to European drivers.
The survey compared cell phone use in the United States with drivers in several European countries. The study which was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that more American drivers reported using a cell phone while driving for conversation, compared to counterparts in at least 7 European countries.
As many as 69% of the American drivers admitted to having had a conversation on the cell phone while driving over the past month alone. In contrast, the percentage of European drivers who had a conversation while driving over the past month, ranged from just 21% in the United Kingdom, to 59% in Portugal.
Even when it came to reading or sending text messages while driving, most European countries had much lower rates than American drivers. In fact, only Portuguese motorists had texting while driving rates that were very similar to those in the United States. As many as 31% of American motorists admitted to sending or receiving text messages or e-mails while driving over the past month. In Spain, those practices seemed to be least frequent, with just 15% of motorists admitting to this practice in the past month.
The comparison was based on a survey of drivers between 18 and 64 in the United States and 7 European countries, including Belgium, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Spain, France, the Netherlands and Germany.
It’s hard to understand why there are such wide differences in cell phone use in texting at the wheel between Americans and Europeans. The rate of cell phone saturation in both these markets is similar, and it’s highly unlikely that difference in cell phone ownership contributed to these disparities.
The researchers believe that there is one explanation – and it’s one that Indiana car accident lawyers find very discomfiting. European drivers tend to be better at obeying traffic laws than American drivers. That could also be because Europeans are better at enforcing traffic laws than American agencies.
Road design may also be a factor. Drivers are much more likely to check their text messages at stop lights. However, road design in Europe includes higher number of roundabouts which have few stoplights, and therefore, motorists may not have as many opportunities to switch on their cell phones to check their text messages. That doesn’t happen in the United States, which includes more stoplights in road design.
In the United States, 39 states including Indiana and the District of Colombia have bans on text messaging while driving, and at least 10 states have banned hand held cell phone use while driving, but those laws do not seem to have been very effective.
The Indiana personal injury lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson Kennedy LLP represent persons injured in auto and truck accidents across Indiana.