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Distracted driving: The evolution of the smartphone

Distracted driving is not a new problem. It is a problem that has been around for generations. In fact, it is a term that is even found in some dictionaries. Random House Dictionary defines distracted driving as:

[D]riving a vehicle while engaging in an activity that has potential to distract the driver from the task of driving.

In the past, this included activities like eating while driving, putting on makeup or yelling at misbehaving children in the backseat. Although these activities remain dangerous, the growing use of cellphones while driving is becoming a much more pervasive issue.

Evolution of distracted driving: Do cellphones make the roads more dangerous?

In short, the answer is yes, cellphone use while driving makes the roads more dangerous than they once were. Accidents connected to distracted driving practices are estimated to result in eight deaths and 1,000 injuries every single day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

As far as distracted driving goes, smartphone use is particularly dangerous because it takes your complete attention away from the road. You are physically distracted, as you often need your hand to hold and operate the phone. You are mentally distracted as you are thinking up a witty message or artistic photo to post online. You are visually distracted as you are looking at the phone, not the road.

Distractions due to cellphone use were recently discussed in an article by CNN. The publication noted that multiple studies point to the dangers of cellphone use while driving, and yet society continues to use their phones in this manner. More so, the uses of cellphones while driving appear to be expanding. At first, the issue was simply talking on the phone. Then texting became a concern. Now it's Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and, most recently, playing games like Pokémon Go! while driving down the road. This makes it extremely difficult to respond safely to a vehicle stopped in front of the driver, avoid a bicycle traveling along the side of the road or to hit the brakes of a kid runs in front of the car.

Distracted driving accidents: What should victims do?

Those who are injured due to another's negligent actions while driving have rights. Compensation is likely available through a personal injury lawsuit. This lawsuit can serve three purposes. First, it holds the responsible party accountable for their actions. Second, it results in monetary awards for victims that can be used to cover the costs associated with the accident. Finally, and potentially most importantly, it deters others from making the same mistakes.

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