Distracted driving is the new American epidemic

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Distracted driving is not a new problem in California. Still, over the past few years, distracted driving reached epidemic levels all across the United States. What originally began as a social ill attributed to young teens behind the wheel is now committed by drivers of all ages. CNN reports that as a result of this, distracted drivers kill eight people per day. What is worse is that a significant number of these are children.

Fortune agrees that distracted driving is an American epidemic. The company reports that in 2015, there was a 7.2 percent spike in traffic accidents — the highest jump in five decades. Of these accidents, 10 percent involved distracted driving. Texting and other forms of phone use are not the only cause factors either. Other dangerous activities include applying makeup or changing the radio station.

The article included quotes from Everquote, an auto insurer. The company’s EverDrive app showed that drivers were usually on the phone for 0.4 miles of every 11 miles driven. However, the number may be even higher as EverDrive only notes phone activity that requires interacting with the screen or unlocking the phone. So, for instance, if someone accepted a call via Bluetooth using the controls in their car, EverDrive would not note this as phone use. The company opted not to request this level of access via the app to protect drivers’ privacy.

The interesting solution proposed by some companies is to use self-driving cars. In fact, research suggests that America could see a 90 percent reduction in car crashes, thanks to self-driving cars. The trick, however, is convincing Americans that their cars are better off driving themselves.

Jeffrey R. Smith

Jeffrey R. Smith

Managing Partner

Robert B. Waldsmith

Robert J. Waldsmith

Partner, 1999

William B. Smith

William B. Smith

Partner, 1978

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