The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that as many as one third of all Americans have e-mailed or texted on their phones while driving at least once over the past 30 days. That kind of reckless, distracted driving has a tremendous cost. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that there were approximately 213,000 car accidents in 2011 that involved drivers who were texting at the wheel.
Obviously, the federal administration and state transportation agencies need to rethink the strategies currently in place to help reduce the risk of distracted driving. Education and awareness efforts and all the money that is being spent on advertising campaigns and TV spots, simply don’t seemed to be showing results. The fact is that an overwhelming majority of the American population is already quite aware of the dangers of using cell phones while driving, but most simply don’t seem able to stop themselves from reaching out for their cell phones at the wheel.
In a refreshing new take on research into distracted driving, studies around the world are focusing on the psychology behind distracted driving. Researchers are investigating why people are unable to refrain from distracted driving, even when they’re completely aware of the dangers of doing so.
There is no doubt that the American motoring public is aware of the dangers of texting, sending or receiving text messages, or having conversations on cell phones while driving. In fact, according to at least one federal survey, as many as 94% of Americans believe that it should be illegal for motorists to text while driving. In spite of this fact, many Americans in the same survey also admitted to using cell phones while driving. Other studies have also indicated that awareness about the dangers of using cell phones while driving is widespread.
New studies that are in various stages of development are currently focusing on why this problem even exists. While strategies to help reduce the risk of distracted driving vary from laws banning the use of hand-held cell phones and texting while driving and strict enforcement to awareness campaigns, there seems to be something much deeper at play here. Experts believe that Americans have simply become attuned to using cell phones all the time. They use cell phones while using public transportation, at work, while out at lunch, and while performing all kinds of other activities. Therefore, it makes sense that a motorist instinctively reaches out for a cell phone when it rings or delivers an incoming message alert. The behavior seems to be almost involuntary; a complete matter of habit.
In other words, for many people, the decision to use a cell phone while driving is not a matter of decision, but a matter of habit that must be changed.
The Indiana car accident lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson Kennedy LLP represent persons injured in car accidents across Indiana.