Distracted Driving in California on the Rise
According to a recent study undertaken by California’s Office of Traffic Safety, the past year has been marked by an alarming rise in the number of distracted drivers.
Researchers found that roughly one out of every ten drivers fell into this category, a jump of roughly 40% from the prior year. Even more disturbing, however, is the fact the actual number of drivers distracted by their cell phones is likely closer to one out of every five, judging from the limitations of the study itself, which noted only those drivers who could be seen manipulating their devices.
The Los Angeles car accident attorneys at Ellis Law are not surprised by these recent findings in light of the growing number of personal injury claims in Southern California involving texting and driving accidents.
Possible explanations for dangerous trend
Experts have theorized that the brazen rise in cell phone use while driving is attributable to a number of factors, including the widespread addiction to and obsession with technology and social media. Many drivers are simply unable to resist picking up the phone the instant they hear the sound of an email, Facebook or text message notification. Further, there is a common misconception that the fixation on being constantly accessible and connected is a hallmark of youth. The truth is that ever-increasing numbers of adults are plagued by an inability to turn off, even when performing tasks requiring full concentration such as operating a vehicle on the open road.
Perceived lack of enforcement
Perhaps adding to the prevalence of cell phone use while driving in California is the belief among many, particularly younger motorists, that despite the existence of laws against texting while driving, they are unlikely to actually be pulled over for engaging in the activity. Many drivers seem to be under the impression that the chances of being stopped by a police officer for texting while driving are slim enough to make doing so a relatively risk-free proposition.
This is surprising to some observers in light of the significant public awareness campaigns that have been launched in recent years, including the designation of April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month by the U.S. Department of Transportation and NHTSA. As part of that initiative, state and local law enforcement agencies nationwide pledged to engage in enhanced monitoring and ticketing of drivers found to be placing themselves and others in jeopardy.
Real dangers of distracted driving
While glancing down at a Facebook post or a quick text from a friend may seem like a small thing to some, the risks resulting from distracted driving are extremely serious. According to statistics released by the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were 3,154 fatalities in 2013 caused by technology-related distractions. The estimated number of similar deaths on California’s roads has been put at 300-400 individuals annually, and the number of serious injuries reaches well into the thousands.
Clearly, more needs to be done to emphasize to drivers of all ages that everyone needs to put their phones down and focus on the critical task at hands.
Help filing a distracted driving accident lawsuit in LA
Though these recent statistics may give some the feeling that distracted driving is simply a part of modern life, and there is little to be done, victims of roadway negligence need to know that they are entitled to seek justice for the harm caused by such conduct. The injuries and effects of distracted driving are often truly catastrophic, and if you or a loved one have suffered due to the reckless conduct of another driver, the law affords you the opportunity to pursue fair financial compensation by filing a Los Angeles distracted driving accident lawsuit.
At Ellis Law, we have dedicated our careers to fighting for the rights of the injured and holding responsible parties accountable. To learn more about your legal options and to schedule a complimentary consultation, contact us at 310-641-3335.