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Survey shows that distracted driving has increased

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2024 | car accidents |

Using a handheld cellphone while behind the wheel is prohibited in Maryland, but motorists who violate the law only have penalty points placed on their driver’s licenses if they are caught. Laws like Maryland’s cellphone ban were passed to make the roads safer, but the results of an online survey conducted by one of the nation’s largest insurance companies suggest that they are not having the desired effect. More than three-quarters of the drivers whose survey responses were used to compile the Travelers Risk Index said that the nation’s roads are becoming more dangerous.

Distracted driving accidents

Four in 10 of the drivers who completed online surveys reported narrowly avoiding car accidents because they were distracted, and 12% of them admitted to crashing while not paying attention to the road ahead. Almost a third of the respondents said that they had been involved in an accident caused by another driver’s distraction. The responses also suggest that dangerous behavior like writing or reading text messages or emails while behind the wheel is becoming far more common.

Cognitive dissonance

The Travelers Risk Index is one of many studies that sow that motorists seem to have cognitive dissonance when it comes to distracted driving. More than 70% of the drivers who participated in another survey, this one conducted by an insurance comparison website, said that driving while distracted was as dangerous as driving while impaired by alcohol, but more than 60% of them admitted to routinely using their cellphones while behind the wheel.

Harsher penalties

Laws prohibiting the use of cellphones and other electronic devices while behind the wheel are frequently flouted. If the roads are to be made safer, these laws should be enforced more rigorously and the penalties for violating them should be made more severe. If these steps are not taken, the annual distracted driving death toll will likely increase in the years ahead.

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