Could it be that drivers in California are getting the message that using a cell phone while driving is unsafe and illegal? According to a new study released by the California Office of Traffic Safety, this appears to be the case.
The report, which is based upon actual human observers watching traffic at 204 spots in 17 counties in California, determined that 3.58% of drivers were seen holding a cell phone to their ear, talking into a cell phone, or manipulating a phone as one would do while texting.
The report also states that distracted driving due to cell phones appears to have dropped in 2017 in California. While the rate for hand held usage was 3.58% for 2017, it was 7.6% in 2016 and 5.4% in 2015. Also, there was higher use of cell phones behind the wheel on local roads than on highways and secondary roads (3.89%, 2.98% and 2.63%, respectively). Interestingly SUVs and vans had a much higher rate of usage than cars – 4.75% and 2.93%, respectively.
Some say that the percentages found in the study sound low compared to what people routinely see on the roads of California on a given busy work day. And the above numbers might seem at first appearance to contradict surveys of drivers and other studies that have found that most drivers use their cell phones for talking and texting while driving.
But the project coordinator for the above safety study, Professor Bill Bommer at Fresno State’s Craig School of Business, said recently that there is no contradiction. He noted the 3.58% figure is representative of the number of drivers who have cell phones in their hands at any one time. That is the percentage of people who are doing it now.
The other driver surveys reflect whether, over a long period of time, a driver has used a cell phone while driving. For example, if you texted behind the wheel three times last month, that would show up in the other surveys. But unless an observer saw that you were texting, you would not be part of the aforementioned 3.58%.
Thus, the new study indicates that across California, approximately one in 28 drivers are texting or talking on their cell phones at this moment. If one were to count hands-free devices, the ratio would be one in 13.
The survey found that drivers in some California counties had higher rates of handheld cell phone use than others:
- San Bernardino County: 8.2%
- Contra Costa County: 6.3%
- Alameda County: 2.66%
- Orange County: 2.56%
- Sonoma County: 2.35%
- San Mateo County: 1.05%
Injured by a Distracted Driver in California? Contact Neale & Fhima Personal Injury Attorneys
While many California drivers are getting the message about distracted driving, there are still many car accidents caused by this problem. If you are hurt in a car accident by someone who was texting on a cell phone, eating, etc., you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. You could be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages and more. Neale & Fhima is experienced in bringing negligence claims on behalf of those who are hurt by distracted drivers. For a complimentary consultation about your distracted driving case, please contact us at Neale & Fhima by calling 949-661-1007.