Distracted Driving: Accidents Increase with Teen "App Obsession"
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When you are driving, how often do you see other drivers checking their phones while behind the wheel? And, be honest, how often do you do it yourself?
The problem has gotten so big that highways across the country now regularly warn drivers "Don't text and drive." And 46 states and the District of Columbia have laws banning texting and driving. But the issue isn't just talking and texting anymore. Drivers are on Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google Maps, Spotify, YouTube and now "Pokemon Go," the video game that has captured the world's attention and has become the latest concern for distracted-driving advocates.
Recently, a man was accused of crashing his vehicle into a parked police car in Baltimore while playing "Pokemon Go." In Napa, a teenage driver who may have been playing the popular video game ran her truck into a power pole.
Jennifer Smith's mom was killed by a distracted driver in September 2008.
"As I'm talking to new families, more and more of them are telling me, 'It's Snapchat,' " said Smith, whose daughters were 1 and 13 when their grandmother was killed in Oklahoma City. "It's Snapchat today, but then what is it tomorrow? You know, we've got the 'Pokemon Go' coming, and then it's the next thing."
Judging by the results of a recent survey, we have a long way to go in getting that message out.
Nearly 70% of teens say they use apps while driving, according to a just-released survey of 2,500 high school-age children across the country. When the teens were asked to rank the behaviors they consider the most distracting or dangerous for a teen driver, 29% said driving under the influence of alcohol and 25% said writing or sending a text message. Only 6% said actively looking at or posting to social media is the most distracting or dangerous behavior behind the wheel for a teen driver, according to the survey by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD).
'An under-reported issue'
But the number of those killed and injured is probably much higher, said Hersman. "There's a dearth of good data," she said. It's a challenge to prove that crashes were the result of distracted driving, especially when survivors may be reluctant to admit they were using their phone.
"We know that it's an under-reported issue and it's a lot like impaired driving in that way where people know it's not acceptable to do it, and yet a lot of people still do it anyway."
'Anything can happen'
Matt Boeve's wife, Andrea, was killed by a distracted driver in 2014. Their girls survived the crash.
"I just knew he was on his phone. My gut told me that even before I got to the scene. I knew. And it's tough. It's so preventable. I mean, we are addicted to our phones," Boeve said. "Anything can happen, and that anything happened to us."
Andrea Boeve was killed, and 4-year-old Claire was seriously injured, with a punctured lung and five broken ribs. Thankfully, she survived, and her little sister wasn't hurt.
At Maya Murphy, P.C., our personal injury attorneys are dedicated to achieving the best results for individuals and their family members and loved ones whose daily lives have been disrupted by injury, whether caused by a motor vehicle or pedestrian accident, a slip and fall, medical malpractice, a defective product, or otherwise. Our attorneys are not afraid to aggressively pursue and litigate cases and have extensive experience litigating personal injury matters in both state and federal courts, and always with regard to the unique circumstances of our client and the injury he or she has sustained.
Please contact Joseph C. Maya, Esq., at 203-221-3100, or at JMaya@mayalaw.com, to schedule a free consultation.
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