When a driver gets distracted, the odds that they will cause an accident go up notably. This is similar to when someone drives under the influence or when they are too fatigued to drive safely.
There are many different types of distraction, but the cellphone is perhaps the main one most drivers deal with. The big issue with using a phone in the car is that it fits into all three categories of distracted driving as they have been defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This means that it is essentially three distractions in one, so the odds of an accident could jump significantly.
First and foremost, looking down at a phone is a visual distraction. This is true whether someone is trying to read their GPS or read a text message. Even things like looking for a playlist or an audiobook can be major distractions.
Next, most people hold their phone in their hand while using it, rather than using a mount or a hands-free system. When someone takes their hand off of the wheel to pick up their phone, even if they just have to push one button to open the phone, they are not fully in control of the car. Some drivers will even hold their phones for miles on end as they try to tap out a text message or something of this nature.
Finally, interacting with the phone can be a mental distraction. Some studies have shown that this goes on even after the person sets the phone down. They are still more likely to cause a car accident because of that prior phone use.
Have you been injured by a distracted driver? If so, be sure you know how to seek financial compensation for medical bills and other costs.