More than ½ of all trips that ended in a crash included some sort of distraction from a mobile phone. That’s what new data from thousands of drivers suggests. Furthermore, the data suggests that in nearly ¼ of the crashes the driver was using his or her smartphone within one minute prior to the crash occurring. This data was compiled by Cambridge Mobile Telematics from hundreds of thousands of drivers using their app. It is clear that smartphones are making the roads we drive more dangerous – perhaps as dangerous as drunk drivingThink about the last time you were driving on one of Wisconsin’s beautiful roadways and observed another driver with their nose buried in their smartphone entirely oblivious to the world around them. Pretty dangerous.

Traffic-Related Fatalities Are on The Rise

Traffic fatalities are on the rise – including in Wisconsin. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance institute for Highway Safety blame the recent increase on cheap fuel and a bustling economy. More people driving = more opportunities for accidents. However, the National Safety Council is not so sure that an improved economy is alone to blame. However, the National Safety Council admits that hard evidence linking crashes and fatalities to smartphone use is lacking.

Most recently, on March 29, 2017, a crash between a pickup and a church bus killed thirteen people in rural Texas. The twenty-year-old driver of the pickup immediately admitted on the scene that he had been texting. While many accidents that involving drunk driving make news broadcasts, accidents involving smartphone usage rarely do.

Are Bans Really Working?

Does banning smartphone use in cars do anything to fix the problem? Currently, 37 states ban all cell phone use by new drivers and teens. However, the bans don’t seem to accomplish their goal. In states that ban all cellphone use, drivers spend an average of 3.17 minutes per 100 miles on their phone compared to 3.82 minutes per 100 miles in states with no such law. Is there a threshold limit for smart phone use that is safe? Similar to the .08 limit for drunk driving? At this point the research is limited.

Political Popularity and Civilian Comfort are Major Factors

Think about how attached to your smartphone you are. Would you be comfortable if the government took steps to shut down your phone while you’re on the road? The answer is probably no. For that reason government, and automakers and wireless communication companies are reluctant to take such measures. It is interesting to note that while politicians engage in a never-ending campaign to toughen drunk driving laws they do little to nothing to curb the growing danger that cell phones pose on the roadways. Is this because banning cell phone use would not be a politically popular move? Most likely. But it’s clear that some action needs to be taken to make our Wisconsin roadways safer.

Until the self-driving car is ubiquitous it appears that cellphone use while driving will continue to be a major hazard on Wisconsin roadways.

Vanden Heuvel & Dineen, S.C. encourages you to always drive alertly and safely.

Vanden Heuvel & Dineen, S.C. has 6 offices located throughout the state of Wisconsin. Our experienced drunk driving defense attorneys have achieved tremendous results for hundreds of clients.  We’re available 24/7 and offer free initial consultations. Contact the firm at 262-250-1976 or through our website. Attorneys Dineen and Skarie are only a phone call away.

The information contained in this post was taken from the following article:

Kunkle, Fredrick. “Analysis | More Evidence That Smartphones and Driving Don’t Mix.” The Washington Post. WP Company, 04 Apr. 2017. Web. 05 Apr. 2017.