Many drivers in Mississippi use their phones to talk while driving. Since this compromises one’s ability to process what they see ahead of them, it constitutes a distraction. Unfortunately, though distracted driving rates have not changed much, drivers are now using their phones in riskier ways. This was the conclusion of a recent report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The IIHS looked at two observational surveys, one from 2014 and one from 2018, of drivers in four Northern Virginia communities. These drivers were observed as they approached and stopped at red lights. The study found that the drivers in 2018 were 57 percent more likely to use their phones for something other than talking. This includes texting, sending emails and surfing the web. Since these actions take a driver’s eyes off the road, they pose a greater threat.

Researchers found that even secondary activities like drinking coffee or talking with children in the car can be distracting, too. Though distracted driving accounts for only 8 to 10 percent of all car crash fatalities, this percentage may actually be higher. Not all drivers will be honest about what they were doing prior to a crash.

Operating a phone contributes to more than 800 car crash fatalities every year in the U.S., according to IIHS estimates. It raises fatal car accident risks by around 66 percent.

Since distracted driving can be difficult to prove (some drivers refuse to give their phones to law enforcement officers for inspection), an accident victim may want to see a lawyer to determine if they have a valid personal injury case. The lawyer could have investigators, crash reconstruction experts and other third parties build up the claim as much as possible. The plaintiff can have their lawyer negotiate for a fair settlement, leaving litigation as the last option.  If you believe you have been injured by a distracted driver,  contact George B. Ready as soon as possible to protect your rights.