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Smart Phone Addiction Can Contribute to the Increase in Auto Accidents

Apr 14, 2017 - Car Accidents, Tuscaloosa by

According to PewResearchCenter, nearly 20 percent of Americans rely on their smart phones for Internet access to some degree. For about 7 percent, phones provide the only option for Internet access. While there are many valid reasons for extensive smart phone use, however, CNN reports a poll in which about half of teens indicated that they are addicted to their phones.

Just as the use of addictive substances like alcohol and drugs can lead to injuries and fatalities on the road, our Tuscaloosa car accident attorneys warn that device addiction can be just as harmful.

Addiction Typically Leads to Poor Choices

It may be surprising to learn that smart phone addiction has become a recognized psychological condition, but it is less surprising when looking at the following symptoms, which resemble those of other types of addictions:

  • A need to increase use in order to achieve the same desired effect
  • Inability to reduce usage after trying repeatedly
  • Psychological dependence demonstrated by turning to the phone to fix feelings of anxiety or depression, while experiencing withdrawal symptoms when the phone is not available
  • The loss of a sense of time while using the phone excessively
  • Putting relationships or employment at risk because of too much smart phone use

Unfortunately, addicted individuals often make poor choices, regardless of the type of addiction. While teen children might make more poor decisions than adults, it is clear that the risk to passengers and other motorists is significant, regardless of the age of a smart phone-addicted driver.

Neither Smart Phone Use Nor Intoxication Belong Behind the Wheel

Back in 2006, two University of Utah psychologists asserted that talking on a cellphone equates to alcohol use when it comes to mental impairment. After conducting their own tests, Discovery.Com’s MythBusters team confirmed the comparison. In fact, both testers said that concentration was actually more challenging while on the cell phone.

Unfortunately, after a car accident, proving a driver’s smart phone use is not as simple as presenting the results of a blood alcohol test. In some cases, however, accident victims may have witnessed smart phone use by the at-fault driver prior to the event. In other cases, police might notice a phone near the driver. Sometimes investigations can reveal phone use as well.

While no drivers should ever admit any degree of fault at the scene of an accident, they should always report all observations of phone use by other drivers to police. After reviewing the police report, experienced auto accident attorneys can assess the need for further investigation. The most important thing to do is to enlist advice and legal support as soon as possible.

Additional Resources

Our Addiction To Cell Phones Is Costing Lives. Here’s How We Can Stop It, The Huffington Post, June 9, 2015

Other Blog Topics

Parents Found to Contribute to Teen Driving Distractions, Tuscaloosa Auto Accident Blog

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