Distracted driving isn't just a problem among teenagers

A recent study shows that cellphone use is common among adults, even with children as passengers.

There have been numerous studies showing just how dangerous distracted driving - especially distracted driving involving a cellphone - really is. However, the vast majority of those studies have focused on cellphone use among teenage and novice drivers while overlooking distracted driving risks among experienced motorists. According to Medical Xpress, a recent study is finally shining light on the problem of distracted driving among adult drivers and has found that the risks of distracted driving is certainly not something limited solely to teenagers.

Adult distracted drivers

The study, published in the Journal of Transport & Health, surveyed over 700 people whose average age was 46. A majority of respondents admitted to texting or talking on a cellphone while driving. Furthermore, about three quarters of respondents say they talk on their cellphones using a hands-free device while driving, but fewer than 30 percent of respondents said they were aware that hands-free phone use still increases the risk of a crash to the same as somebody driving with a 0.08 blood-alcohol limit.

Researchers, however, admitted they weren't entirely surprised by those responses since they expected cellphone-use to be common among adult drivers and for many motorists to underestimate the dangers of hands-free devices. What did surprise them is that the presence of children and minors in the car did not discourage drivers from texting or answering their phones. Such a response is worrying not only because it increases the risks of young passengers being involved in a crash, but because previous studies have also shown that teenage passengers often mimic the driving behaviors of their parents.

Distracted driving in Virginia

As the Lynchburg News & Advance points out, texting and driving is illegal in Virginia and it is considered a primary offense. While talking on a cellphone and driving is technically still not against the law in the Commonwealth, Virginians should not assume that such behavior is safe just because it is legal. Especially with children returning to school, it is more important than ever before for drivers to keep their attention focused solely on the road.

The risks of using a cellphone while driving are downright frightening. People who talk on a cellphone while driving (regardless of whether it is a handheld or hands-free device) are four times more likely to be in an accident. Texting and driving, meanwhile, increases that risk to eight times. Additionally, drivers who are texting and driving have been shown to drift out of their lanes 10 percent of the time.

Distracted driving accidents

Drivers have a responsibility to drive safely, not just for their own sake but for the sake of their passengers and anybody else on the road. Sadly, distracted driving continues to plague roads and highways across both Virginia and the U.S. For those who have been involved in an accident with a driver who may have been distracted it is important to reach out to a personal injury attorney today. An experienced attorney can assist accident victims during the often confusing days and months following a crash, including by informing them of what compensation options may be available.