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Smartphone (in the car) Effects (Part I of II)

Were all guilty of it, and if youre not, congratulations. Your adherence to not only the law but natural behavior at this point is laudable. The temptation is ridiculous, its always sitting there and ready to interact at the tap of a finger.

Pretty vague, right? Well it shouldn’t be, as that thing were talking about is a smartphone, and specifically using said phone in the car while driving. Im more fearful these days of losing my smartphone over losing my wallet. This apparatus is everything, and while were super connected, when in the car we still need to drive which means thats less time for the smartphone. Gasp!

Regulatory bodies knew this was going to be an issue, but accurately correlating a car-related accident to smartphone use and the driver being subsequently distracted as a result is tough. There are so many variables involved for example, a drunk driver texting at the time of a crash, or a parent turning around to yell at the kids with a smartphone in his/her hand, or someone on prescriptionmedication that is deemed unsafe while driving in possession of their smartphone. Unless a camera is present, most drivers would not readily admit, you know what, I was texting, sorry, wont happen again. The common excuse (assuming alcohol or drugs is not part of the equation) is, I was distracted, the light off someones windshield blinded me, etc. These are excuses that place the driver in a space of having to react to something beyond his/her control instead of assuming responsibility for an action or decision they could have prevented.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2015 only 448 traffic deaths could be accurately linked to smartphone distraction by the driver. Running this number as a larger percentage of overall traffic deaths and its rather low 1.4%. Using this measure, something like drunk driving is 23 times deadlier. But experts believe that the real number for smartphone related fatalities is at least 3 times the federal figure. As of only a couple years ago only 11 states had accident reporting forms with a field for smartphone distraction. Texting while driving is nearly illegal in every state and use of a handheld phone in roughly half of the country. Yet, a field for smartphone distraction is only present in 11 states when reporting on an accident.

A start-up in San Francisco, Zendrive, analyzes smartphone driving data which rightly led Bloomberg who was researching this issue more in depth to talk to them. Zendrive took a sample size of data from 3 million drivers and discovered that 88% used their phones while on a typical journey. Even more shocking, the number islikely higher because Zendrive could not include those with hands-free technology which is also considered very dangerous. Combining the two, like we stated earlier, were basically all involved in this.

Stay tuned for Part II.

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