Most Drivers Talk on Cell Phones, Increasing Risks for Car Accidents in Chicago and Elsewhere. says NHTSA

Talking on a cell phone while driving is illegal in our city, but drivers still blab on their phones and increase the risks of a Chicago car accident for everyone.
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To get a better idea on just how popular this activity is, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a new report, “National Distracted Driving Telephone Survey Finds Most Drivers Answer the Call, Hold the Phone, and Continue to Drive.” This is the first study of its kind and seeks the common attitude of the public regarding distracted driving. Roughly 10,000 drivers were surveyed in this study.

Our Chicago car accident attorneys understand that a majority of surveyed drivers admitted to answering incoming phone calls while driving. Only about 5 percent admitted to making phone calls on all car rides, about 10 percent on most trips and more than 25 percent on some trips. Of these talking drivers, less than 10 percent said they’d answer and then pull over, about 10 percent said they’d answer and call back, only 3 percent said they’d pull over and then answer. Less that 10 percent said they’d hand the phone to a passenger to deal with it. The study found that not only do most people answer while driving, but nearly half of drivers admitted to holding the phone in their hand while driving. Less than 20 percent said they use a hands-free device.

One of the biggest factors in a driver’s decision to answer or not had to do with the callers importance. Rarely did a surveyed driver consider personal safety, traffic conditions or laws when deciding on when they should answer the phone or not.

Although most drivers talk on the phone, nearly all of them said that when they were passengers they felt uncomfortable while riding with a driver who was making phone calls, text messaging or sending e-mails at the wheel. About a third of drivers said they felt uncomfortable even when a driver was messing with a GPS system while driving. These feelings increased with age. Younger drivers were less likely to feel threatened by this behavior.

Safety issues and hand-held devices:

-More than 30 percent of drivers said they feel unsafe riding with a driver who is talking on a hand-held cell phone.

-A majority of passengers are willing to say something about their worry about a texting driver.

-About 90 percent of those who were surveyed say that they support laws that prohibit drivers from texting.

-About 60 percent say they support laws banning cell phone use by drivers.

-Support for anti-texting and anti-cell phone laws is higher among older drivers.

Regardless of what other drivers are doing on our roadways and what passengers may think about their actions behind the wheel, all drivers are urged to keep distractions at bay while navigating our roadways. Distraction-related car accidents took the lives of nearly 3,100 people in 2010. These accidents are 100 percent preventable with a little driver discipline.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a distraction-related car accident, the personal injury attorneys and wrongful death lawyers at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential appointments to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.

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