Smart Phones are Killing Americans, but Nobody’s Counting
Over the past two years, more the 100 people died everyday in or near vehicles in America. Regulators still have no good idea why crash related deaths are spiking. From 2014 to 2016, Americans who owned an IPhone, Android, or something comparable rose from 75% to 81%. Five years ago that penetration figure was roughly half of what today at 42%. It’s to believe that when the iPhone was first introduced 2007, only 6% of the population had smartphones.
The increase in fatalities has been largely among Bicyclist, Motorcyclist, and Pedestrians. All of whom are easier to miss from the driver seat then say a 4,000-pound SUV. Especially if you’re glancing up from your phone rather then concentrating on the road. Through its efforts to reduce distracting driving, The National Safety Council works with people who lost loved ones in crashes that involved driver cell phone use. During conversations with the families about the crashes, a disconcerting pattern emerged: For many, the crash reports did not display drivers cell phone use although cell phone involvement was apparent.
Examples of Phone Usage in Crashes
In January 2010 in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., 17 year old, young lady lost control of her car. She passed another vehicle while talking on the phone with a friend. The friend later told Her parents that Her last words on the phone were “oh s***, I’m going to crash.” This young lady died a few hours later in the hospital. Crash reports do not record cell phone usage.
In May 2010, a teen driver talking on his cell phone struck both women. The person he was talking with heard the impact through the phone, and asked what it was. The driver said he thought he hit a water cooler. He kept driving. The 19-year-old women fell into a coma, was declared brain dead. Her unborn baby also died. The friend was injured. The crash report does not mention cell phone use
Police and Phones
There are many challenges to verifying that cell phone use is a contributing factor in a motor vehicle crash:
- Police must often rely on drivers to admit to cell phone use.
- Witness memories and statements may be inaccurate.
- Police may not fully investigate cell phone use if it’s not a violation in their jurisdiction, if a more obvious violation such as speeding or lane departure is identified, or if a more serious violation is involved such as alcohol or other drug impairment.
Out of NHTAS full 2015 data set, 448 deaths were linked to mobile phones. Some of the biggest indicators are within the data itself, more than half of 2015 fatal crashes motorist were simply going straight later, no crossing traffic, rainstorms, or blowouts. Drivers involved in in accidents increasingly mowed down things smaller than a Honda Accord, such as pedestrians or cyclist many of whom occupy the side of the road or sidewalk along the road. Fatalities increased inordinately among Motorcycles 6.2% in 2016, and Pedestrians 9%. I will share a link or links to some excellent videos for you to watch. And please put your phones down and just drive.
If you were involved in this incident or a similar incident and have questions about your rights and options, call us or another reputable law firm.