Research shows the dangers of cellphone use behind the wheel

A study found that drivers who use cellphones are more likely to be involved in a catastrophic car accident, which may cause injuries and death.

More Americans than ever before rely on their cellphones to keep in touch with loved ones, conduct business and stay informed about the world around them. According to the Pew Internet Research Project, more than 64 percent of adults in the country own cellphones that have advanced features, allowing them to text, search the internet, write emails and even watch videos. Unfortunately, many cellphone owners in Texas and across the country continue to engage in these distractive activities while driving, and as a result, put their lives and the lives of others in danger. A host of credible studies conducted on distracted driving has shown that using these devices while behind the wheel can be deadly.

Implications of distracted driving

One study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that motorists who text and drive are 23 times more likely to be involved in a serious car accident than those who are not texting. When drivers take their eyes off of the road, they are not able to see and respond to certain road hazards, including pedestrian crosswalks, traffic lights, bicyclists, other drivers' and object in the road. According to the New York Times, drivers stop looking at the road for an average of five seconds when composing a text message. During this time, drivers could travel the length of a football field while traveling at freeway speeds.

The study

During this particular study, researchers equipped the participants' personal vehicles with sensory instruments and cameras designed to measure and observe drivers' behavior. As the participants were driving, they were given several tasks, such as texting, dialing and talking on a cellphone. After monitoring the study participants for more than six million miles of combined driving, researchers found that all cellphone use posed a danger to drivers. The following activities reportedly increased the risk of collision when compared to drivers who were not involved in any cellphone tasks:

• Engaging in a conversation over the phone increased the risk of a car accident by 1.3 times

• Reaching for an object in the car increased the risk by 1.4 times

• Dialing on a cellphone increased the risk by 2.8 times

Although these results were found on tests involving lighter vehicles, the study also found that trucks and other heavy vehicles presented a much greater danger when operated by distracted drivers.

Finding legal representation

People who choose to engage in distractive tasks while behind the wheel needlessly put other peoples' lives in danger. If you have been victimized by a negligent driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your property damage, medical expenses, emotional trauma and lost wages from work. An attorney in Texas may be helpful in organizing a personal injury case and exploring your legal options.