Most drivers will acknowledge that cellphone usage behind the wheel can be very unsafe, even when hands-free units are being used in conversations. Certainly the campaign to ditch texting while driving has made drivers aware of the dangers.
But that doesn't mean that the relationship between drivers and smartphone usage is entirely clear. To date, there has been relatively little research into the different types of smartphone engagement with crash data after collisions involving injuries and deaths.
Cellphone interactions evolve over time
Within the past couple of decades, cellphone technology has grown by leaps and bounds. It wasn't so long ago when flip-phones with built-in cameras were considered to be cutting-edge models. Now, people can interact with their smartphones in ways that no one ever thought would be possible.
Researchers have sought to fill in these knowledge gaps by thoroughly examining the cellphones of drivers after collisions to determine whether their cellphone interactions caused or contributed to the accidents. Scientists conducted federally funded research to compare cellphone crash data with ordinary driving usage data involving over 3,500 motorists by installing, with drivers' permission, video monitors inside their vehicles for several months.
The major takeaway from this was that motorists almost doubled their risk of getting into collisions when they engaged in visual-manual cellphone tasks. Texting behind the wheel, however, more than doubled their accident risks.
The greatest danger appears to be when drivers actively engage with their phones, as they then have three times the risk of departing from the road in a crash and seven times the risk of causing a rear-end collision with the vehicle in front of them.
Where can injured drivers and passengers turn for justice?
If you suffered injuries in an accident with an at-fault driver, whether you were a passenger or another motorist, it's important to understand your rights to seek compensation for your losses and damages under Illinois law.
It may not be immediately apparent that a driver's cellphone interactions may have caused or contributed to the accident that left you injured. However, if driver distraction is suspected, your Belleville personal injury attorney can subpoena the other driver's phone records to determine whether their cellphone played a role in the crash.