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Are drivers too complacent about using their cellphones?

Imagine you have stopped at a light. In your rearview mirror, you watch as a car bears down on yours from behind. It is traveling too fast. You see that the driver is texting and cringe, wondering if you are about to be the victim of a rear-end collision.

Are people so accustomed to using their cellphones while driving that they have become oblivious to the risks?

A tally of tragedies

The National Safety Council is a nonprofit advocacy group that, like you, would like to see safer driving behaviors in America. According to their statistics, there were more than 40,200 roadway fatalities in 2016, the highest number since 2007 and a 6 percent increase from 2015. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration posted similar findings, which showed an 8 percent rise in traffic fatalities during the first nine months of 2016 as compared to the same period in 2015.

Drilling down

A survey conducted by the NSC revealed the following statistics:

  • 47 percent of respondents said they were comfortable texting while driving
  • 10 percent admitted to driving drunk, and 43 percent of those respondents were involved in a car crash while impaired
  • 25 percent had no problem with speeding on residential streets
  • 16 percent of respondents said they did not wear seat belts all the time

Deborah Hersman, chief executive of the National Safety Council, remarked that the survey results show “our complacency is killing us.”

The NSC wants restrictions

If you are an older driver, you may remember a time before cellphones, when texting had yet to become an activity and motorists faced far fewer distractions than they deal with now. The NSC wants to see a total ban on cellphone use while driving, including the hands-free systems. The group also believes ignition interlock devices should be mandatory for everyone convicted of drunk driving.

The main problem

A personal injury attorney will tell you there are many reasons behind traffic fatalities and injuries. Cellphone use holds a top spot and accident victims are eligible for compensation to cover their medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost wages and more. Together, cellphones, driving and complacency are a dangerous mixture. They often combine to form an accident going somewhere to happen.

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