Crashes Over Holiday Season Predicted to Surge Due to Distracted Driving
Fatalities and serious injuries from motor vehicle crashes remain on the rise throughout the busy holiday season, reaching an alarming height between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. While drunk and impaired drivers stay responsible for contributing to high numbers, another cause has emerged. University of Michigan researchers, using Michigan State Police traffic crash reports, concluded distracted driving crashes tallied twice as high as drunk driving across the state in 2017. And, data now supports that holiday season crashes are occurring more often because the driver is distracted on their phone. With more people on the road during the months of November thru January, and higher use of cell phones in general, driving app designers, such as TrueMotion, report a 33 percent jump in distracted driving over the holiday season. The data was collected from the smartphones of 3,000 drivers who had downloaded the TrueMotion app between Nov. 18 last year and Jan. 3 last year.
Distracted driving continues to grow as an epidemic across the U.S. over the last five years, Michigan not excluded. According to the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, in 2017:
- A total of 3,099 crashes occurred in Michigan where a motor vehicle driver, pedestrian, or bicyclist was using a cell phone. Twenty-one of those crashes involved a fatality.
- A total of 3,076 motor vehicle drivers, 25 pedestrians, and nine bicyclists were reported to be using cell phones in the 3,099 crashes.
- Of the 25 pedestrians using a cell phone, three pedestrians were killed, six suffered a suspected serious injury, ten suffered a suspected minor injury, and five suffered a possible injury.
- Of the 3,076 motor vehicle drivers using cell phones, 618 (20.1%) were 20 years of age or younger.
- There were 1,490 (48.1%) rear-end crashes where a driver was using a cell phone.
- Of the total 3,099 crashes involving cell phone use, 609 (19.7%) also involved a lane departure.
- Of the total 3,099 crashes involving cell phone use, 1,236 (39.9%) were intersection related.
- There were 3,076 motor vehicle drivers using a cell phone in crashes: 2,713 passenger cars, 292 pickup trucks, 28 trucks or buses over 10,000 lbs., 11 small trucks under 10,000 lbs., ten vans or motor homes, one motorcycle, four vehicle types coded as “other,” and 17 uncoded and errors.
While it may only take your eyes off the roadway for a couple of seconds, sending or reading a text at 55 mph, is comparable to driving down the length of a football field blindfolded. Don’t use your phone and drive, ever. Even if you are traveling a distance to see a family member this holiday and the excitement of the journey has you wanting to share a photo on Facebook, add to your Captain’s Log, or send an “Almost there!” text, save the selfie and the details to share for when you are stopped or arrive at your destination. Your family and friends will enjoy having you in their presence over the holiday. Do all you can to make it a safe trip to see them!
Contact Us to Discuss Your Motor Vehicle Accident Injury Case
From the Lee Steinberg Law Firm, we wish you a safe and joyous holiday season! But if you or a loved one become injured by a distracted driver, let us help you today. Please call Lee Free at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form so we can answer any questions you may have about Michigan personal injury law.