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Smartphone use and traffic fatalities

Pennsylvania motorists who have smartphones and who tend to use them while they are driving should know that the behavior may increase their likelihood of getting in an accident. This conclusion is based on a review of data related to fatal traffic accidents and smartphone use.

After years during which the number of traffic deaths had been falling, they increased sharply by 14.4 percent in the last two years. In just 2016, there were over 100 deaths daily of people in or near vehicles. Regulators have been unable to pinpoint the reasons the deaths on the road has been increasing. There has been no significant change in the distances that are being driven or in the occurrence rates of drunk driving and speeding.

However, there are factors that indicate a cause. One is that the use of smartphones by American drivers while they are behind the wheel has increased. The percentage of people who possessed an Android phone, iPhone or similar device increased from 75 percent to 81 percent from 2014 to 2016.

The manner in which American drivers are using their phones is another factor. They are using their phones for activities that require more engagement than using their phones to answer a call. In 2015, the percentage of American who were using their phones to stay updated on social media totaled nearly 70 percent. Two years later, the percentage has increased to 80 percent.

Car accidents that result from the negligent behavior of other drivers may be cause to pursue financial damages. A personal injury attorney may conduct an accident investigation, separate from that of law enforcement, to determine the parties that should be held financially responsible for a victim's losses.

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