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Deaths from distracted driving on the increase

Despite laws and public serviced campaigns to dissuade drivers from cell phone usage – whether talking, texting or posting - Distracted driving continues to be a problem. In fact, despite decades of decreasing traffic fatalities, in the last two years the numbers have spiked.

Currently, California regulates cell phone usage and has laws prohibiting texting and driving. Drivers are not not allowed to use mobile phones for calling, nor reading or writing text messages while driving on a public road unless they have a handsfree system installed. Laws further regulate how the hands-free system must be installed.

However, even with laws and outreach campaigns aimed at reducing the prevalence of cell phone use while driving, the number of traffic deaths went up in 2015 and 2016, topping more than 100 deaths/day after years of decline. Several factors indicate that cell phone use was the culprit. First, the number of drivers owning cell phones has gone up to over 81%. Further, the way we communicate on our phones has changed – rather than using phones as a way to call a friend – people are increasingly using their phones to communicate in ways other than talking – such as texting, snapping or posting to social media. These forms of communication are even more distracting than talking.

Additionally, statistics show that the number of pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists killed by cars has gone up by 22% in the last two years. This is likely a combination of driver distraction and pedestrian/cyclist distraction. We all need to pay attention when using the roadway – whether driving or crossing the road on foot.

For more information or if you or a loved one has been injured in a distracted driving accident, please contact the experienced San Francisco personal injury lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.