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Drivers using phones raise fatal accident risk by 66 percent

Most people in Georgia have either used their smartphones behind the wheel or seen other drivers doing it. Because operating a phone takes people's eyes off of the road, the distraction places them at a greater risk of causing crashes. According to research, drivers increase their chances of experiencing a fatal traffic accident by 66 percent when they use their phones.

A new report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety concluded that shifts in the ways that drivers use their phones have heightened crash risks. Instead of making phone calls and talking, surveys indicate that people are engaging in riskier activities like texting, opening apps or browsing the internet. Two traffic surveys conducted in four cities in 2014 and 2018 measured drivers' increasing tendency to text, email or use the internet instead of talking during phone calls. From 2014 to 2018, drivers became 57 percent more likely to use their phones for purposes other than phone calls.

When people operate their phones, they have to take their eyes away from the road. Even if they are glancing upward to monitor traffic, they will usually only focus on the center of the road. With their attention divided between two things, people lose the ability to interpret fully what they see.

A distracted driver who causes an accident could face accusations of negligence from a victim of the crash. The injured person might want to make a claim upon the negligent driver's insurance or personal assets to pay for medical care and other damages. An attorney who represents victims of car accidents may assist with this process, which requires investigating the accident, organizing evidence and negotiating with an insurance adjuster. If a lawsuit appears necessary, then an attorney may help file the court paperwork.

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