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Distracted Driving—Still a Problem and a Threat to Public Safety

Even with laws limiting or prohibiting the use of devices while driving, motorists continue to make calls and text while driving.
December 20, 2019, 9am PST | Camille Fink
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Text and Drive
Ovidiu Dugulan

"Across the U.S., many states have distracted-driving laws in place. Yet federal studies estimate over 3,000 people a year die from distracted driving, and safety experts believe the actual number is far higher," reports a team from Bloomberg.

Data from smartphone apps that track drivers shed light on the extent of the problem. "New York drivers called, texted or swiped through apps about 22% of the time they were on the road. Los Angeles fared slightly worse, mostly in the 'non-call passive usage' category, which could include the use of apps for navigation and directions."

Over the course of this year, distracted driving appears to have leveled out, possibly due to the implementation of new state laws and public information campaigns. However, laws are inconsistent across the country. For example, all states except Missouri and Montana have full bans on texting while driving, but laws limiting use of handheld devices while driving are a mix of full and partial bans with no restrictions at all in some states. 

"The data support the generally-accepted wisdom that despite laws, penalties and reminders of the hazards of cell phone distractions while behind the wheel, drivers continue to put themselves and others on America’s roads in grave danger."

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Published on Thursday, December 5, 2019 in Bloomberg
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