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Insurance company releases worrying distracted driving study

The results of a recent automobile insurance company study suggest that drivers in South Carolina and the country find it extremely difficult to look away from their cellphones even when doing so could avoid a ticket and a fine. After surveying drivers from across the country, Root Insurance found that motorists spend about 91 minutes each week mesmerized by their phones instead of paying attention to what is going on around them. A worrying 38 percent of the respondents admitted that not even the sight of a law enforcement vehicle in their rearview mirrors was enough to make them stop.

The distracted driving study also reveals that an alarming number of motorists use their cellphones to do much more than making or answering calls. More than half of the drivers polled said that they regularly engage in text message or email exchanges with multiple people, and about a third admitted to using their smartphones to access social media while behind the wheel.

The vast majority of the respondents conceded that distracted driving was dangerous and cellphones are one of its leading causes. However, most did not believe that they placed other road users at risk due to their superior driving skills. An overwhelming 89 percent of the motorists polled said that they would rate a ride-sharing driver poorly if he or she used a cellphone despite many doing the same thing themselves.

Police reports do not always reach firm conclusions when motor vehicle accidents may have been caused by distracted drivers because the behavior leaves no telltale clues. In these situations, attorneys pursuing compensation on behalf of accident victims may order additional inquiries. Attorneys could request inspections to access the electronic data stored by most modern cars or use subpoenas to obtain the cellphone records of drivers suspected of being distracted when they caused a crash.