How prevalent is distracted driving on Maine roads?

Portland ME auto accident attorney

When we hear the sound of a "ding" or "buzz" emitted from our cellphones, it may be tempting to see what all the fuss is about. It could be an important email or text, or just a social media notification. Picking up that cellphone while driving, however, could lead to a catastrophe. Many drivers may realize how risky using a cellphone while driving can be. Distracted driving still remains a big problem, however.

According to the National Safety Council, the prevalence of cellphone use while driving during daylight hours went down from 5.2 percent in 2012 to 3.2 percent in 2018. While this sounds like good news, the rate at which distracted driving caused traffic fatalities is still alarmingly high.

From 2011-2018, fatal crashes caused by distracted driving peaked in 2015. Of those, 453 involved cellphone use and 2,789 involved other distractions. In 2018, the numbers were 349 fatal crashes caused by cellphone use and 2,279 caused by other distractions.

How many distracted drivers are on the road?

These numbers, however, don't accurately tell us how prevalent distracted driving is. Many drivers are confident enough in their ability to multitask that they don't recognize the risks. Other drivers are good at concealing their distractions. They may use a cellphone in a position that can't be seen by the police.

The question is: is there a way to accurately determine how many drivers are using cellphones at any given time? According to Bloomberg, the answer is yes.

Ever hear of TrueMotion? Their data-based algorithms may provide real insight into how many drivers use cellphones behind the wheel. They also track the amount of time each driver spends on his or her cellphone.

Today's cellphones have several sensors built into them that can track when a phone is picked up, turned in a certain direction, or is mounted. By tapping into these sensors, TruMotion has put its prototype app to the test. The tech startup offered insurance incentives and other rewards to about 30,000 drivers who downloaded the app and took part in a recent study.

According to the data, for every 100 drivers, at least one driver could be distracted 40-45 percent of the time and another distracted 45-50 percent of the time.

In addition:

  • 2 drivers could be distracted 35-40% of the time
  • 3 could be distracted 30-35% of the time
  • 5 could be distracted 25-30% of the time
  • 7 could be distracted 20-25% of the time
  • 10 could be distracted 15-20% of the time

Thirty out of 100 drivers could be distracted about 5% of the time. That's still enough to cause a serious crash.

New law may curb distracted driving in Maine

Like many other states, Maine recently passed a law prohibiting drivers from holding, handling, or using cellphones behind the wheel — unless otherwise connected to a hands-free device or used for emergency purposes. The law took effect on September 19, 2019. In the first month alone, law enforcement officers across Maine issued more than 232 tickets. Analysts believe that it will take some time for the new law to have a profound impact on distracted driving in Maine, however.

Should you or a loved one sustain injuries in a crash with a distracted driver, you have legal rights that must be upheld. With offices located throughout Maine, The Law Offices of Joe Bornstein is dedicated to holding negligent drivers accountable for their actions and helping crash victims recover all damages owed to them.

To find out how we can help you, contact us online for a free case evaluation.

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