Study reveals discouraging attitudes about distracted driving

Ohio is among the majority of states to impose some limits on cellphone use behind the wheel. State laws ban texting while driving, but it is still legal to use a handheld cellphone to make calls. The fact that so many states are legislatively fighting distracted driving is a recognition of how dangerous this practice is. Yet, many Americans still aren’t getting the message.

A recent nationwide study called the 2019 Travelers Risk Index included survey data from 1,000 drivers and 1,050 business executives. The results of the survey illuminate some unsettling attitudes about cellphone use behind the wheel.

Of the 1,000 drivers surveyed, 80 percent said they talk on the phone while driving. Approximately 3 in 10 drivers said they had nearly crashed because they were distracted behind the wheel. Yet when pressed, a significant number of drivers admitted that they would find it “very difficult” to give up their preferred driving distractions, including reading/typing texts and emails, talking on phone and even online shopping.

Another distressing finding of the study was employer expectations related to distracted driving. Around 87 percent of executives surveyed said that they expect their employees to be reachable outside the office, including while driving. Nearly three-quarters of executives asserted that they are not very concerned about employee distracted driving.

Conversely, employees are feeling pressure to stay connected to their jobs while driving. About one-fifth of drivers said they respond to work emails behind the wheel because they don’t want to upset their bosses.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nine people are killed each day on U.S. roads in auto accidents caused by distracted driving, and countless more are injured. Unfortunately, studies like this suggest driver distraction is here to stay, regardless of the enormous risks.

If you’ve been seriously injured by a distracted driver, you do have legal options. Please discuss your accident with a personal injury attorney in your area.

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