Using a cellphone while driving is extremely dangerous behavior. Even if the driver is making a call with a hands-free device, using a cellphone takes attention off the task of driving, making it more likely that the driver will be involved in a serious accident.
Indeed, according to research from Carnegie Mellon University, using a cellphone behind the wheel reduces a driver's focus on the road by approximately 37 percent. Because of this risk, Michigan legislators have been taking steps to limit drivers' abilities to use cellphones while operating their vehicles.
Statewide, all drivers are prohibited from using their cellphones to send or receive text messages. Further, starting in March 2013, teen drivers with level 1 or level 2 graduated licenses will be banned from any cellphone use behind the wheel. In addition, the city of Detroit prohibits all drivers from using handheld devices while driving.
AAA cellphone survey
While these restrictions do help improve safety, they are not as strict as those in other states. However, new data showing that cellphone users may be more predisposed to engage in other risky behaviors behind the wheel may spur Michigan lawmakers to think about strengthening the state's distracted driving laws even further.
The data was collected in a survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. It found that while 89 percent of respondents said they knew that using a cellphone behind the wheel was dangerous, 69 percent of them admitted to talking on their phones while driving in the last month. In addition, cellphone-using respondents made the following admissions about other dangerous driving habits:
- 65 percent admitted to speeding
- 44 percent admitted to driving while impaired by drowsiness
- 53 percent admitted to emailing or texting while driving
- 29 percent admitted to driving without wearing a seatbelt
Additionally, the survey found that younger drivers (those between the ages of 16 and 24) were more likely than other age groups to engage in risky cellphone-related driving behavior.
Michigan distracted driving accidents
The survey's findings are troubling, largely because of just how dangerous distracted driving is. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving crashes kill more than 3,000 people in the United States every year. What's more, the distraction associated with using a cellphone makes a driver four times more likely to be involved in a car accident.
When accidents are caused by distracted driving, it is important for injured victims to take steps to protect their rights. Michigan law allows car accident victims who were injured by someone else's negligence to seek financial compensation in personal injury lawsuits for losses including medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. If you or a loved one has been injured in a Michigan distracted driving car accident, talk to an experienced personal injury attorney who can review your case and help you understand your options for moving forward.