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Internet Use While Driving Likely Tied to Smartphone Availability

Casey Woodruff

In previous posts we have written about the problem distracted driving poses on roads throughout the nation, including those in the Chicago area. Distracted driving is an issue as it could lead to a car accident. While distracted drivers have been causing problems on roads since the invention of the automobile, the nature of those distractions has changed greatly throughout the years. With the popularity of smartphones growing with individuals of all ages, their use is one of the leading reasons drivers are distracted.

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While talking on one’s phone can prove to be a distraction, smartphones provide other ways in which the attention of a driver could be pulled away from the road. Though texting while driving is an issue that receives a lot of attention in the media, as it turns out, accessing the internet is a big issue as well. Despite the widespread warnings about the risks associated with the action, a recent survey indicates that the number of drivers who engage in such behavior is actually increasing. The survey, which followed drivers since 2009, found that the percentage of drivers who use the internet via their phone while driving has almost doubled, to 24 percent. In 2009, that number was 13 percent.

The sharp increase is likely due, at least in part, to the accessibility of smartphones. Once an expensive novelty, now individuals of all ages, can afford, and are using these devices. Though historically popular with young people, those over the age of 40 actually account for the greatest increase of smartphone ownership. Many of these individuals are logging on while driving.

Whatever the type of distraction and regardless of the age of the person who engages in the behavior if it causes a motor vehicle accident to occur, that person could be held accountable in civil court. Injured individuals contemplating filing such a lawsuit would likely benefit from meeting with a personal injury lawyer.

Source: USA Today, “Drivers still Web surfing while driving, survey finds,” Larry Copeland, Nov. 12, 2013

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