Cell Phones in the Car: the Bad and the Good

As reported on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website, “[i]n 2011, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver… An additional, 387,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver… “ NHTSA lists common distractions:

  • Texting while driving
  • Driving while talking on a phone
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading, including maps
  • Driving while using a GPS or navigation system
  • Watching a video while driving
  • Adjusting a car radio, CD player, or MP3 player

See NHTSA website:

Hands-Free Cell Phones are Still a Distraction

Washington State has passed laws banning texting and hand-held cellular phone use. However, “studies have shown that simulated driving performance is also disrupted by conversations using hands-free devices.”(Carnegie Mellon) As cited on the NHTSA website, “driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%.” (Carnegie Mellon)

Is There a Good Side to Having a Cell Phone in the Car?

While cell phones may be a driving distraction, they are also valuable tools. In the case of automobile accidents, drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists and bystanders are able to call for immediate medical, fire and police aid. Also, most cell phones are equipped with cameras, and are useful for documenting accident scenes and vehicle damage. Additionally, if you or someone near you is struck by a hit and run driver, a picture of the fleeing vehicle provides valuable information for police in tracking down the suspect and holding that person responsible for the harm they have caused.

If You are in a Car Accident with a Distracted Driver

Unfortunately, even the most careful driver may not be able to avoid a collision caused by a distracted driver. Additionally, the other driver may not willingly acknowledge the accident was their fault. This is where it helps to have an attorney on your side. An experienced attorney will conduct a thorough investigation to firmly establish the liability of the other driver. Such investigation may include interviews and depositions of witnesses, subpoenaing of relevant cell phone records, subpoenaing of traffic cam images, scene reconstruction experts, among other things.

James Dixon & Jennifer Cannon-Unione are experienced Washington car accident attorneys. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car, truck or motorcycle accident, don’t hesitate to call Dixon & Cannon, Ltd. at (206) 957-2247 for a free consultation.

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