FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2013-10-25
With the increasing social expectation to stay connected, it has become harder for people to put down their cellphones for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, this means that more and more people are using their cellphone while behind the wheel. Although studies in the past have highlighted the dangers of using a cellphone to text or talk behind the wheel, a new study has found that another form of distracted driving is increasing—web surfing.
According to the new study conducted by State Farm, the number of young people—between 18 and 29 years of age—using cellphones to search the Internet while behind the wheel increased in 2012. In 2009, the same study found that 29 percent of young drivers surfed the Web while driving. In 2012, that number shot up to 48 percent.
Young drivers are not the only people who are surfing the Web. The survey found that drivers of all ages accessing the Internet increased to 21 percent from 13 percent between 2009 and 2012. Additionally, among drivers, checking social media networks increased to 15 percent from 9 percent, and updating social media rose to 13 percent from 9 percent during the same time period.
Although distracted driving affects all age groups, young drivers are especially dangerous when distracted. According to the Department of Transportation, drivers under 20 years old are the most likely to be distracted. Additionally, 16 percent of drivers in this age group who were involved in fatal car accidents were distracted at the time of the accident—the highest proportion of any age group.
Distracted driving and Arizona law
Although distracted driving has been proven to be a major cause of accidents nationwide, Arizona law has been slow to adapt to the threat. Arizona law prohibits school bus drivers from using cellphones while driving. However, Arizona is one of only 11 states without a statewide ban for all drivers.
Although the legislature has been slow to act, it does not mean that distracted driving does not carry legal consequences. In Arizona, drivers owe each other a duty to operate their vehicles in a manner that does not cause an unreasonable risk of harm. If a driver fails to do this—by accessing the Internet behind the wheel, for example—he or she is negligent under the law.
Individuals who are injured by negligent drivers are entitled to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for medical bills, future medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. If you have been injured in an accident cause by distracted driving, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure that your right to compensation is protected.