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Distractions are always evolving and always dangerous

Smartphones get a lot of the blame for accident rates. Some have even said around 100,000 accidents are caused by phones on a yearly basis.

While some of the reputation is warranted, it is important to note that accident totals have been falling, not rising, for decades. Starting in 1996 -- long before the smartphone was invented -- they've dropped on an annual basis almost every year. There are two outlier years where this wasn't true, but that's not much in the grand scheme.

So, why wasn't there a jump? If smartphones cause all of these accidents, why didn't numbers rise considerably when they were invented? Why haven't they kept rising as these phones are used more often?

In considering this issue, one man told a story of his first accident. He was just 16 years old, and he was driving toward a green light. This was long before he could have had a phone streaming music through his car's speakers, but he was listening to the radio. He decided he wanted a new station, looked away from the road and changed it.

He wasn't looking down for long, but it was plenty of time for the green light to turn yellow and then red, and he drove right into a Cadillac.

What this story shows is that distractions aren't new. They're just different. They've been around for years, in one form or another. Even when smartphones are laughably outdated, like tape decks are now, there will be some new distraction.

These distractions can always be dangerous when used behind the wheel. If you've been injured by a distracted driver, you may be able to seek compensation, no matter what specific distraction caused the crash.

Source: Computer World, "Is technology the cause of car crashes? Or the cure?," Mike Elgan, accessed Jan. 12, 2017

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