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Survey shows dangerous use of phones by drivers growing

Georgia drivers who are involved in accidents in which distracted driving is a factor may not always report the cause accurately. This is one of the challenges faced in gathering information about the relationship between distracted driving, including cellphone use, and motor vehicle accidents. Usually, attributing accidents to distracted driving involves either getting permission to examine drivers' phones or self-reporting from people involved in the accident.

Some research has shown that drivers using phones are 66 percent more likely to be involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident. Using this figure, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that more than 800 traffic fatalities in 2017 may have occurred because of drivers emailing, texting or using phones in other ways besides talking.

The IIHS conducted two observational surveys several years apart to determine how drivers are using their phones. Drivers in 2018 were 57 percent more likely to be texting, emailing or browsing online than in 2014, and they were less likely to be talking on their phones.

Using phones is not the only distracting activity drivers might engage in. A distraction could be anything that shifts a driver's attention from the road, including drinking a beverage or talking to passengers.

Car accidents caused by drivers who are distracted can lead to serious injuries for passengers, other drivers and pedestrians. A driver who causes an accident may be responsible for paying the medical expenses of the people injured. This could be critical for a person who has a catastrophic injury that requires long-term care. However, some drivers may be underinsured or uninsured, or their insurance companies may make an offer that is inadequate. The cause of the accident might also be disputed. An attorney may be able to negotiate compensation or file a civil lawsuit.

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