Driving distracted is the leading cause of crashes on the road. Whether it’s from using a smartphone, looking for something in your car or just zoning out, being distracted while driving can be fatal.
In Ohio, a distracted driving law went into effect last October and includes increased fines for even looking at your phone while driving. A fine of $100 and completion of a distracted driving course are included in the penalty options. Police don’t have to prove a driver was texting, just that they were distracted.
According to the Ohio Department of Transportation, in 2017, approximately 13,997 drivers in Ohio crashed while being distracted by something within their vehicles and 51 of these crashes were fatal, resulting in 55 total deaths. Another 4,668 drivers were in injury-causing crashes resulting in a total of 6,988 injuries, ODOT reports.
The number of reported distracted driving fatal crashes nearly doubled from 2016-2017 (96 percent).
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 10 percent (3,196) of U.S. fatal crashes in 2015 were reported as distraction-affected.
According to a 2006 research study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated 78 percent of all crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes in the United States were due to distracted driving. More recent studies showed that one out of every six fatal crashes in the United States could be linked to distracted driving.
Psychology Today cites the following as contributors to the problem:
- Attitude towards phones: Despite being aware of the risks associated with smartphone use while driving, young drivers often rely on them to stay in touch with family and friends and to maintain a presence on social media. This often causes them to view the advantages of smartphone use as outweighing potential dangers.
- Gender: Even though smartphone use in young drivers appeared equally divided between males and females, there were some significant gender differences in smartphone use while behind the wheel. Not only did women report sending shorter text messages than men, they were also more likely to rate texting and driving as being more distracting than their male counterparts.
- The Illusion of control: Drivers with strong confidence in their ability to drive appear more likely to text while driving because they believe they can avoid problems. This perception of personal invulnerability is commonly seen in young males and often leads to their engaging in various risky behaviors.
If you were injured in an accident in Ohio and suspect the other driver was distracted, contact Merriman Legal, LLC to discuss your course of legal action.