Cagle Law Firm
Attorney Zane Cagle

Posted on March 14th, 2016,
by Zane Cagle

Cell Phone Distracted Driving is Underreported

Posted on March 14th, 2016 by Zane Cagle

According to the National Safety Council, cell phone distracted driving is severely underreported.  As many would suspect, we don’t know the true extent of the problem because there are many challenges to truly collect data.

1435899536yuq1lData Cannot Capture the Full Problem

Since cell phone use is underreported, it is difficult to truly determine the full safety threat of distracted driving. There is not a BAC (blood alcohol content) test equivalent that tells officers for sure that someone was engaged in distracted driving with a cell phone, however, there are often tell-tale signs.

Major Reasons of Underreporting:

  • There is no simple way to know whether a cell phone was involved in a car crash
  • Drivers in crashes aren’t admitting to cell phone use or may even be killed
  • It is difficult to obtain cell phone records
  • Witnesses’ memories and statements can be inaccurate

There Are Three Levels of Knowledge about Cell Phone Crashes

  1. Known-Driver admits to phone use
  2. Suspected- Driver didn’t admit to phone use but witness statements and facts of the crash indicated distracted cell phone use
  3. Unknown- one car, one crash, driver deceased

Why Underreporting is a Problem:

Underreporting the impact of distracted driving due to cell phone use is a problem for policy makers in addressing laws and somewhat for liability issues.  Law makers need to understand the threat to public safety of distracted driving for law making purposes. Many lawmakers have implemented distracted driving laws in the last few years as well as municipalities  have legislated bans on all drivers using cell phones while driving.  Even though there has not been overwhelming data, each of us has had a personal experience with someone on their cell phone.

We Have All Had Negative Experiences with Distracted Drivers

Every one of us has been behind or beside someone who was all over the road while texting or looking up something on their cell phone—it is always frightening and it angers each of us because it seems like a needless risk of injury and life and, it is.

The other issue is liability for a motor vehicle crash when one of the drivers is distracted due to their smart phone.  Correct, it is difficult to always prove cell phone use in distracted driving , however, we do not always have to prove that they were actually on their cell phone. Frequently, we can show negligence in their driving behavior  as they may have been swerving across lanes, failing to hit their brakes (lack of skid marks) in a rear-end collision.  If the condition of the crash shows clearly they had adequate time and vision to avoid the crash and did not,  then we can often prove negligent driving with or without the phone records.

Thus, if you are driving, put down your phone.

Voice-to-Text Driver Distraction Study

DD-infographicTexas A&M Transportation Institute found that while drivers felt they were being more careful when they use voice-to-text method opposed to manually texting, the findings suggest that those applications offer no real safety advantage over manually texting. The study (2013) found that drivers response times were significantly delayed no matter which method of texting.  As well, the amount of time spent looking away from the roadway was significant whether they texted via voice or manual and driver performance was essentially the same.  Furthermore, there is a  false assumption of safety when using voice text even though response rates and performance were the same.

If You Have Been Injured in a Car Crash

The Cagle Law Firm represents victims of motor vehicle crashes in Missouri and Illinois.

If you have been injured in a car crash, you will need to talk to an expert car accident attorney.

Call toll free seven days a week, (314) 276-1681