According to new research published by TrueMotion, drivers are doing much more than just texting behind the wheel. The study found that drivers spent 18 percent of their driving time with a phone in their hand, often using distracting apps behind the wheel.
Why is this study different than previous studies?
The TrueMotion study looked at the actual cell phone use of 7,595 motorists while they drove more than 4.8 million miles nationwide.
This study is noteworthy because it is one of the first studies to use cell phone data instead of self-reported behavior. Distracted driving studies are notoriously questionable, because most motorists do not want to admit breaking the law.
What apps are drivers using behind the wheel?
The data collected by TrueMotion found that drivers are using a wide variety of apps while driving. Some require little to no interaction, while others require users to watch the screen or type. It is difficult to fault drivers who are using GPS apps or listening to music while driving, but many are also watching videos or playing games.
The top ten apps users accessed while driving include:
- Google Maps
- Pokémon Go
- Android Messaging
- Amazon Music
- Google Chrome
Is using apps behind the wheel legal?
New Jersey legislators recently proposed some of the nation’s strictest distracted driving laws. While these laws — which received a fair amount of criticism for including some socially accepted distractions such as drinking coffee and eating — would replace laws that already make it illegal to engage in hand-held phone use except in the case of an emergency.
Even in an emergency, the NJ law requires you to keep one hand on the wheel. The law discourages hands-free device use, but does not strictly outlaw it. Still, the crashes continue.
Pennsylvania also has laws that limit distractions from smartphones and other devices. Under PA law, drivers cannot read, type, or send text messages or emails, or perform other tasks that require more than one tap on the screen. This includes dialing the phone, surfing the web, or entering an address into a GPS.
What do the statistics tells us about distracted driving?
A large majority of U.S. drivers consider distracted driving a major issue on America’s roads. According to the annual AAA Foundation Traffic Safety Culture Index, about 80 percent of motorists say they feel less safe when driving because of the prevalence of drivers who are using smartphones behind the wheel.
Distracted driving played a role in almost 800,000 NJ auto accidents in the state between 2010 and 2014, according to the New Jersey Office of Law and Public Safety.
In 2014, distracted driving contributed to almost 14,000 Pennsylvania traffic accidents, reports the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
Bucks County Distracted Driving Lawyers Fight for Your Rights
You should always avoid distracted driving, but you cannot stop everyone from being distracted behind the wheel.
If you were injured in a Pennsylvania or New Jersey distracted driving crash, the distracted driving lawyers at Cordisco & Saile, LLC can help you get the compensation you need to cover your losses. Call 215-642-2335 to discuss your legal options for compensation today.