Driving to Distraction and Death

Why do people of all ages participate in known risky behavior behind the wheel of a motor vehicle?

According to a new November 2011 Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll, most adults (2,800 were interviewed) admitted to engaging in distracting behaviors while driving:

86% eat and/or drink
59% talk on the cell phone (not hands free)
41% fiddle with their GPS devices 37% text 36% reading a map 14% apply makeup (plus 1 in 10 comb hair)
13% surfing the Internet 7% watching videos
“Every 1 percent of drivers polled represents more than one-and-three-quarters of a million people,” said Humphrey Taylor, chairman of The Harris Poll.

The poll found that certain drivers were more apt to indulge in risky distractions than others. For example, drivers older than 65, were less likely than their younger counterparts to engage in distracting behaviors. And men were more likely than women to drive while drowsy, pay attention to their GPS systems, look at maps, to drive after drinking alcohol, surf the web, or watch videos.

And the most disturbing of all is — while big percentages of drivers agree that distracting behaviors are dangerous, many still continue to engage in them.

In yet another study by researchers at the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) finds no reductions in crashes after laws take effect that ban texting by all drivers. The study conducted a year ago revealed such bans are associated with a slight increase in the frequency of insurance claims filed under collision coverage for damage to vehicles in crashes.

Previous studies also found that banning hand-held phone use while driving doesn’t cut crashes.

Young motorists are more likely than older people to text while driving. Crashes increased among drivers younger than 25 after bans on texting went into effect. Younger drivers ages 18 to 24 dismiss the bans but for crashes to increase could possibly mean that drivers know about the ban and are shifting their behavior to be more secretive such as moving their phones out of sight which means they are taking their eyes off the road for longer periods of time.

What will it take to decrease the risky behaviors of distracted driving?

What will it take to electrify the It-can’t-happen-to-me syndrome?

If you or a loved one has suffered because of another person’s risky distracted driving behavior, please contact the Anapol Weiss car accident attorneys in Pennsylvania at (866) 735-2792.

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