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Dangerous use of phones while driving increases

Pennsylvania drivers may be using their mobile devices in even more dangerous ways than in previous years. According to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released on Jan. 24, drivers in 2018 were 57 percent more likely to be seen using their phones for texting or emailing than in 2014. They were less likely to be using them to make calls.

Experts say that while there is no evidence that distracted driving accidents increased, using cellphones for texting and surfing on the web while driving is more dangerous than talking on the phone. Doing so requires drivers to take their eyes off the road. However, just talking on the phone is also dangerous because drivers doing so tend to focus on just one part of the roadway. Even talking to children in the car or drinking coffee while driving can be distracting.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to gather reliable statistics on accidents that happen as a result of distracted driving. Federal data indicates that the number of deaths from traffic accidents caused by distracted driving is relatively low, but these figures often rely on self-report from people who were involved in the accident or on allowing law enforcement to examine phones.

If a person does cause a motor vehicle accident because of distracted driving or for some other reason, that person might be liable for the expenses of people who were injured. A person who is injured in a traffic accident should document as much about the accident and the injury as possible. This could include taking photos and getting a copy of the police report. In some cases, the insurance company of the driver who caused the accident might dispute who is at fault or the person's injuries. An attorney may be able to assist the injured person in seeking compensation.

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