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Most drivers unconvinced by cellphone dangers

Drivers distracted by cellphones are involved in about one in four motor vehicle accidents around the country. Public information campaigns warning Oklahoma motorists about the dangers of using cellphones while behind the wheel have had little impact, and most road safety advocates believe that the problem will get worse rather than better in the years ahead. A team of Australian researchers polled 447 drivers about their attitudes toward distracted driving and cellphone use, and they found that more than two-thirds of them thought the dangers were overblown.

The driver survey also revealed that women are more likely than men to use their cellphones to make phone calls or send text messages, but the responses suggest that this kind of behavior becomes less common as motorists become more experienced. The study, which was conducted by researchers from the University of Queensland and the Queensland University of Technology, was published by the Society for Risk Analysis.

The results of the poll are likely to make sobering reading for lawmakers and police departments struggling to cope with an epidemic of distracted driving and a sharp rise in road deaths. Drivers who text while behind the wheel are more than six times more likely to crash, and the car accidents they are involved in are often extremely serious because distracted drivers rarely brake or swerve to avoid a collision.

Individuals who engage in dangerous behavior while driving are sometimes killed in the motor vehicle accidents they cause, but this does not mean that their victims are unable to pursue civil remedies. When reckless motorists are deceased or face serious criminal charges that could lead to decades of incarceration, experienced personal injury attorneys could seek compensation for accident victims by filing litigation against their automobile insurance companies or their estates.