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Talking with passengers causes more accidents than phone use

As cellphones have become commonplace in the last 10 to 15 years, distracted driving has become an even bigger issue. Federal and state government agencies have devoted substantial resources to warn drivers of the dangers associated with texting while driving.

Clearly, texting, surfing the internet or otherwise using the phone is not recommended. Surprisingly, however, cellphone usage is not the main cause of distracted driving accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), the most common cause of distracted driving accidents is talking with other passengers.

In fact, talking with passengers is nearly five times more likely than cellphone use to cause a car accident. The statistics break out as follows:

  • Talking to passengers cause 57 percent of crashes
  • Cellphone use causes 12 percent of crashes
  • Internal objects (putting on make-up, smoking, adjusting the radio, etc.) cause 11 percent of accidents
  • Passenger actions cause seven percent of crashes
  • Other factors make up 23 percent of crashes

Considering the focus on cellphone usage while driving, these statistics are surprising. There are a few reasons why cellphones may contribute to fewer accidents than initially believed. One reason is that people tend to drive slower while talking on the phone. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motorists drive five to six miles per hour slower while talking on the phone. Drivers don't typically slow down when talking to passengers. Another reason is that many drivers only text or view the internet while stopped in traffic or at stop lights. While this behavior is problematic, drivers who are stopped are less likely to cause accidents.

Regardless, these statistics point out the fact that drivers need to remain attentive and distraction-free at all times. If you or someone you love has been injured by a distracted or otherwise careless driver, it is important to discuss your situation with a skilled personal injury lawyer. For years, Zarbin Law Firm has been a strong resource for injured people across Maryland.

Source: This surprising activity is more dangerous than using your phone while driving, Washington Post, June 23, 2016 by Jacob Bogage

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