Texting and driving and other distracting behaviors behind the wheel have been problematic in New York since smartphones became commonplace. Law enforcement and legislators have tried to formulate strategies to lower the number of distracted drivers. Despite laws being passed and crackdowns imposed, it continues. With the number of people who are injured or lose their lives in collisions due to distracted drivers, this should be considered whenever there is a crash.
Distracted driving laws are being put in place across the U.S. However, research indicates that this has done little to put a dent in its frequency. An estimated 3,000 people are killed in distracted driving motor vehicle accidents each year. The numbers could even be higher.
The devices themselves are being used to determine just how common distracted driving is. Technology can monitor whether the phone was in use when the person was driving. With one company, TrueMotion, Inc., drivers have their phones tracked as they drive. Several insurance company’s use TrueMotion’s tracking. Its data says that regardless of the warnings and known dangers of distracted driving, drivers are still driving while distracted.
Out of every 100 drivers, 30 are distracted 5 percent of the time behind the wheel; 20 are distracted between 5 percent and 10 percent of the time; 15 are distracted between 10 percent and 15 percent; 10 at 15 percent to 20 percent; seven at 25 percent to 30 percent; three at 30 percent to 35 percent; two at 35 percent to 40 percent; one at 40 percent to 45 percent; and one at 45 percent to 50 percent. There is also information that says certain times of the day and year make drivers more prone to being distracted. For example, the holidays bring about a 30 percent increase in distracted driving. On a regular weekday, it is slightly higher than 9 percent. For Thanksgiving, it rises to 13.5 percent. Christmas raises it to 12.1 percent.
There are levels of distraction, including texting and apps; hands-free apps; using the phone in-hand; calling with a hands-free device; and no distraction at all. In New York, drivers were texting or swiping through apps approximately 22 percent of the time when they were driving. While it is suggested that distracted driving is leveling out, this remains a major danger on the road.