Pedestrian deaths in New York and around the country have reached levels last seen 30 years ago, and most road safety experts believe that an epidemic of cellphone use by drivers is the reason why. In April 2019, the driving data company Zendrive published its third annual report on distracted driving in the United States, and the figures suggest that about one out of every 12 motorists finds it impossible to look away from their smartphones even when traveling at highway speeds. This is particularly dangerous as vehicles traveling at 50 mph cover hundreds of yards every few seconds.
The Zendrive study contains some even more alarming findings. The data reveals that the number of drivers distracted by cellphones has doubled in just 12 months, and there are times of the day when between 60% and 80% of the cars, pickup trucks and SUVs on the nation’s roads have a driver behind the wheel who is looking at a screen. Zendrive researchers also determined that drivers who use their cellphones are distracted about 28% of the time.
When questioned about distraction, the vast majority of motorists admit to using their cellphones while driving despite understanding how dangerous this behavior can be. Experts say that this cognitive dissonance is the major reason why distraction has emerged in recent years as an even more serious road safety issue than drunk driving.
Experienced personal injury attorneys may suspect that distraction played a role when their clients are injured in car accidents caused by drivers who took no evasive action or failed to notice stop signs or red lights. In these situations, attorneys may seek to gather evidence of distraction by using subpoenas to obtain cellphone records and having the vehicles involved in accidents inspected to recover the information stored on their data recorders.