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Is Distracted Driving Really a "Young People" Problem?

When you see safety awareness campaigns targeting distracted driving, you'll probably notice that they're aimed at young people. Because distracted driving typically involves smart phone activity behind the wheel, the behavior is almost always associated with our younger, tech-savvy generation. A new study from earlier this year however, concluded that middle-aged drivers are just as likely to be using their smart phone while behind the wheel.

The Journal of Transport & Health published a study from researchers working at the University of California, San Diego who found that roughly 75% of their study's participants (all between the ages of 30 and 64) admitted to making "hands-free" calls while driving and 90% of those that did thought that they were just as capable of safely driving as they would be if they were not on the phone. Alarmingly, less than a third of these participants knew that even hands-free phone use while driving increased the likelihood of a crash as driving at the legal alcohol limit.

"Unfortunately, we weren't surprised to see that relatively few people understand the risks of distracted driving," lead study author Dr. Jessa Engelberg told Elsevier. "What we were really interested in was whether factors like children and work obligations had an effect on people's behavior."

Workplace Pressure & Minors in the Vehicle

More than one third of the participants in the study revealed that they felt pressure from work to answer the phone even when they were driving. The study also found that having minors in the car did not dissaude drivers from answering the phone while behind the wheel. "The thing about middle-aged drivers is their passengers tend to be minors, and there's an issue of modeling if the adults are teaching them how to drive," said Dr. Linda Hill, co-author of the study.

The researchers believe that education is key to stemming this behavior and keeping our roads safer. They used their research to create an intervention program and are now working with employers throughout California to help create a new awareness and new policies about the dangers of distracted driving, while also making sure that employees know that their phone calls can wait until they finish their trip.

If you have been hurt on the road by a distracted driver, then we invite you to contact us at Del Sole Cavanaugh Stroyd, LLC today. Our Pittsburgh car accident attorneys are industry recognized for work that they do for our injured clients. We are committed to standing for the rights of the wrongfully injured and have recovered millions of dollars in relief due to our diligence on their behalf.

Start exploring your legal options with our team today. Contact us to request a free case evaluation.

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