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California Distracted Driving: Study Reports Rise in Number of Motorists Talking on Cell Phone While Driving

December 31, 1969

According to a study by California's Office of Traffic Safety, there has been an increase in the number of drivers using handheld and hands free cell phones while operating a motor vehicle. Over 130 intersections in 17 counties were observed as part of the review.

Per the study's findings, almost 11% of motorists used cell phones while driving. That is 4% more than a year ago.

"While people get in theory that Orange County, California cell phone accidents can cause serious injuries and deaths, many of them find it hard to imagine that they could possibly become one of those unfortunate enough to cause a distracted driving accident," said Anaheim Personal Injury Lawyer Vincent Howard.

Also disturbing is findings from a study by UC San Diego's Trauma Epidemiology and Injury Prevention Research Center experts who examined the driving habits of almost 5,000 university and college students in San Diego County. According to those surveyed:

• 78% use a cell phone to text or talk while driving
• 50% have texted while driving on a freeway
• 87% have texted while stopped at a traffic light
• 52% use hands-free devices at least some of the time
• 60% text while driving on city streets or in stop and go traffic
• 12% never text while driving

The study's lead investigator, Dr. Linda Hill, said that distracted driving has become acceptable behavior even though the dangers involved are now well known. She also said that it didn't matter whether the phone is handheld or hands-free. Talking on a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle ups the California car accident risk by up to four times.

Hill also affirmed that texting while driving is more dangerous than drunk driving. Driving while intoxicated may up the crash risk by four times, but texting while operating a motor vehicle approximately increases the collision risk by up to 16 fold.

"Although a distracted driver never intends to cause an injury or a death, there are motorists who have ended up going to jail and/or found themselves the defendant in an Orange County, California wrongful death case or personal injury lawsuit because their negligence caused a catastrophic crash," said Anaheim Car Accident Lawyer Vincent Howard.

Last month was Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Yet, a survey by the US Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration can't help but leave one wondering whether more "awareness" needs to happen. According to the survey, which polled over 6,000 drivers, younger people are the motor vehicle passengers least likely to tell a distracted driver to stop texting or talking on the phone.

Among the survey's other findings:

• Drivers in the 18-20 age range reported the most phone involvement in accidents and near-crashes
• Drivers under age 25 are twice or three times more likely to drive while texting or emailing

More people driving while chatting on cells, OC Register, May 9, 2012

UC San Diego Says Distracted Driving Up Among Students,, April 23, 2012

U.S. Department of Transportation Releases Survey Analysis Showing Young People Are Least Likely to Speak Up About Distracted Driving as Passengers, NHTSA, April 16, 2012

To schedule your case evaluation with Orange County, California Car Crash Attorney Vincent Howard, call Howard Law, PC today.