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Distracted driving is more than just texting

Every driver in New York shares the road with many other drivers, and if any driver is distracted while behind the wheel, serious accidents can happen. Distracted driving often brings to mind texting while driving, but there are many other distractions smartphones can cause. The problem has become so great that laws have been passed and advocacy groups have been formed to combat all cell phone use while at the wheel.

Social networking sites and games are some of the many cell phone uses that are causing distracted driving accidents. The advocacy group StopDistractions.org was formed to raise awareness and campaign for laws that prohibit distracted driving. Many states already have laws that prohibit texting while driving, but the StopDistractions.org web page lists any phone use while driving, as well as things like talking to passengers, eating, smoking and personal grooming as distractions.

According to a recent survey, 70 percent of teenagers say they would use cell phone apps while driving. A study by the University of Alabama found that it is often the most conscientious teens who are the most likely to use smartphones while driving. The researchers speculate that a personality that desires to reply to messages or complete tasks in a timely fashion may lead someone to texting or posting on social media while at the wheel.

Distracted driving can cause motor vehicle accidents that can leave drivers, passengers and occupants of other vehicles seriously injured. In New York, using a hand-held cell phone while driving is prohibited, and texting while driving is completely prohibited. Unless someone is caught or seen by witnesses using a cell phone while driving, determining if this was the case when there is an accident can depend on the driver's own willingness to provide this information. In an accident investigation, witnesses could be essential to discovering if distracted driving may have played a role in the accident.

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