Using a phone and driving puts everyone at risk. The driver. Passengers. Pedestrians. Other drivers on the same road. That type of distraction causes accidents every day.
People know this. Many of the very same people who cause the accidents know -- and knew, before the crash -- that it's a risk. But they take that risk anyway.
Part of the reason is addiction. In the same way that an alcohol addiction can make it more likely that someone will drive while intoxicated, an addiction to a smartphone makes it more likely that the person will drive while distracted. They know they shouldn't, but they still make calls, take pictures and read every single text message they get.
Why is this?
An outdated mentality
One potential reason, researchers note, is that we stick to an outdated mentality that comes from the days of landline phones. Before everyone had cellphones, a call at the house sent people running from room to room. They couldn't miss that call. If they did, they'd have no idea who called or what they wanted. The opportunity was gone and there was nothing they could do. This is why people answered the phone during meals or conversations. They felt like they had to.
We don't have to anymore. Your cellphone means you know exactly who called. You can call them back whenever you want. There's no rush to answer the phone in the car. Just wait until you get wherever you're going to check that voicemail or text message.
But old habits die hard, and we still feel like we have to pick up the phone instantly or we're going to miss something.
While the above may work for the 30s crowd, what about younger people who never really knew anything but cellphones? What if they grew up with the technology?
The issue there could be that perceptions have changed. You could argue that people should think a phone call is an interruption to whatever they're doing -- reading, talking, driving. However, since we use phones so much, they don't think of it that way. To them, it's just part of life, not a distraction or an interruption.
How often have you watched a TV show with someone who spends half of it on the phone? How many conversations have you had where people stare at their screens while talking to you? They apply that same mindset to driving and assume that using the phone is normal and accepted.
No matter why drivers have this overwhelming addiction, it is dangerous. If you suffer serious injuries in an accident, make sure you know what legal steps to take.