Gig economy workers and parents are much more likely to be distracted by smartphone apps while driving, exposing them to the risk of an auto accident. This is a simple idea that the majority of these drivers do not understand.
It’s a myth that distracted driving only involves the use of cell phones for texting or having conversations while driving. As smartphones become more sophisticated and as we rely more and more on smartphone apps for daily routine activities, we find that motorists are at risk of using these apps while at the wheel with possibly disastrous consequences. A new study finds that gig economy workers are up to four times more likely to use a smartphone app while driving. Examples are rideshare drivers who may frequently use smartphone apps in order to connect with potential riders. Similarly, delivery workers are also much more likely to use smartphone apps while driving as part of their daily work routines.
Parents of young children are also very likely to use smartphone apps while driving. A parent driving his child to school, for instance, might be likely to check on a weather app to learn the forecast ahead, or traffic updates for the route. The study found that drivers of children below the age of 18 were as much as 50% more likely to use a smartphone app while driving.
The study was conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety which surveyed more than 2000 motorists about their use of smartphones while driving. The researchers focused on the secondary tasks that motorists can perform using a cell phone while driving, like using smartphones for navigation or other such purposes. The researchers found that nearly two-thirds of the drivers reported having used smartphones for tasks like these at least once a day over the past 30 days. At least 50% of the drivers said that they performed at least one device- related task during most of their drives. These tasks included using the smartphone to make phone calls and stream music. For many more motorists, especially delivery workers and rideshare drivers, the use of navigation apps was the most common distraction at the wheel.
The researchers also asked motorists whether they held the smartphone with their hand or used hands-free devices. Most drivers said they used hands-free devices. However, the researchers believe that the use of a hands-free device doesn’t necessarily eliminate the distraction involved. Even with the hands-free device, a person is still using his eyes to look at the display on the screen and his mind is distracted by the task. Hands-free devices are useful for preventing distraction while performing activities that specifically require the use of the hand, like for scrolling through the phone contacts list. These systems may not really prevent distraction when they are used for other activities like streaming music.
The Atlanta car crash attorneys at Katz Personal Injury Lawyers are dedicated to the representation of persons injured in car accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia. If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a car accident, talk to a lawyer at our firm and determine if you have legal options to a claim for damages. You may be eligible for compensation that includes medical expenses, lost income and other types of damages. Talk to an attorney at our firm and discuss your case.