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IIHS: operating phones makes drivers more distracted

California drivers who use their phones behind the wheel should know how distracting this activity can be. According to a study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, it also turns out that operating a phone is more distracting than simply talking on it. Researchers looked at observational surveys from 2014 and 2018, both of which involved drivers at red lights in four Northern Virginia communities.

The drivers in the surveys were 57 percent more likely to engage in phone-related activities that excluded talking. Though distracted driving rates did not change considerably between the two years, more and more drivers are now engaging in these activities.

Controlling the phone rather than talking on it contributes to an average of 800 car crash fatalities every year in this country, according to IIHS estimates. It raises the fatal car crash risk by 66 percent, according to other research. The IIHS study also found that secondary behavior, such as eating, drinking and speaking with passengers, distracted drivers.

Researchers stress that all handheld phone use behind the wheel is dangerous, diminishing a driver's ability to process what they see of the road. Distracted driving officially accounts for about 8 to 10 percent of all auto accident deaths, but it may account for more since not all drivers are honest about it when accidents do arise.

Distracted driving is a form of negligence, so the victim of a distracted driver may have good grounds for an auto accident case. A personal injury lawyer can evaluate a case and potentially build up the claim with proof like the police report and phone records. Medical experts can come in to measure the extent of injuries. In the end, the lawyer can negotiate for a settlement or litigate if one is not achieved.

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