Researchers at Ohio State University Risk Institute found that distracted driving crashes were more severe than other crashes. Specifically, they found that distracted driving-related crashes:
- Can be 49 percent more severe on a highway system
- Are 5 to 10 times more likely to be fatal in a rear end or angle crash
These findings are similar to recent trends in Nebraska crashes.
Of all the 4,699 distracted driving accidents in 2017, 32 percent resulted in injury. In addition, nearly 43 percent of the accidents caused by mobile distraction resulted in injury. Distracted driving accounted for roughly 8 percent of Nebraska's traffic fatalities and was responsible for 13 percent of total accidents throughout the state.
Unfortunately, distracted driving is only increasing. Over the past decade, distracted driving crashes throughout Nebraska have increased from 3,466 in 2008 to 4,699 in 2017. In fact, the state saw an increase in distracted driving accidents 9 out of those 10 years.
It has been well documented and well known that distracted driving is extremely dangerous, yet people still do it. Most times, you are not driving far enough to spend significant time away from your phone; the notification can wait.
Here's what you can do to help curb this distracted driving crisis:
Put down the phone
As stated above, your phone can wait. Unfortunately, many people still believe their phone is a vital part of their life. If this is the case, you can always purchase a Bluetooth headset or link your cell phone to your vehicles Bluetooth. That way, you can still communicate via phone while keeping both hands on the wheel.
Download an app
There are many apps available for download on the Apple and Android stores that can curb distracted driving. Applications such as Cellcontrol, Toyota Safe & Sounds: Do Not Disturb Mode, Automatic, and Safe 2 Save, are all available to ensure you and your family members are driving safely to their destination.
If anything, you can always set your phone to its built-in driving mode.
Multitask and organize before you drive
Simply finish all of your multitasking before or after you drive. This will require some planning and timeliness, but it can go a long way in preventing accidents.
Figure out your audio beforehand
One of the biggest distractions in your vehicle is audio sources such as the radio or your phone. Radio users should aim to keep their radio on one station, but phone users have the most distractions due to their options.
A phone's main two audio sources - outside of calling - are podcasts and music. To avoid picking up your phone, phone users should try to stick to one playlist or album to minimize the number of phone interactions. For podcasters, choose a podcast that will last as long as the commute.
Do not be a distraction
If you know a friend, coworker or loved one is driving, refrain from texting them. The last thing you want it a friend to be injured because they were texting you. Tell them you will wait until they are safely parked before they message you.
If you are injured
The first thing you should do if you are injured in a distracted driving accident is to alert first responders and ensure you make it out with minimal harm. Next, contact your insurance company and gather all the information of the involved drivers. The police should have documented this information at the scene of the accident and your insurance company will walk you through the remaining steps. If you feel you have been wronged by an insurance company, contact a personal injury lawyer to help gain the compensation you deserve.