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Popularity of apps adds to distracted driving accidents

A recent article published in Consumer Affairs highlights statistics that show teen texting-and-driving rates appear to be declining. The bad news is that teens are using apps while driving at an alarming rate.

The survey conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Driving showed that only 27 percent of teen drivers are still texting while driving. That number is down by 70 percent. However, 68 percent say they have engaged in app use, often reading or posting to social media, while behind the wheel.

Many of the apps young drivers are engaging in are music videos, twitter, snapchat and one of the newest culprits has been Pokemon Go. Posts about accidents happening while people play the interactive game have been hitting news agencies and social media. One recent instance saw a Pokemon Go player actually back a car into a Quebec City police cruiser while focused on the smartphone app. Another gamer drove head-on into a tree. About 80 percent of teens polled say that they believe using apps is less distracting and dangerous than texting. However, an article published by Forbes points out that experts disagree and they are saying app use is far worse than texting. 

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a study that indicates we may be underestimating the breadth of distracted driving collisions by teenagers. The study concluded that 89 percent of road departures and 76 percent of rear-end collisions were traceable back to distracted driving.

Due to the tremendous commercial success of phone apps, we can expect a flood of new versions hitting the market. Some that could add to distracted driving are:

  • Yik yak: The app allows users to share their thoughts with people in their immediate vicinity. It's expected to be popular with students and around college campuses.
  • Kik: This app allows people to chat with friends without a phone number.
  • Shots: The app is a rival to the already popular snapchat. The amount of selfies-while-driving being posted to the internet is concerning.
  • Hyper: This is a photo sharing app that uses hashtags to connect with like-minded people in an area.

As app technology expands, we can expect to see more and more opportunities for phones to become a source of distraction while driving. States have been steadily expanding penalties against such behavior. Connecticut currently ranks as the strictest state in terms of distracted driver enforcement and imposes the fifth toughest penalties.

However, these deterrents have not curbed the use of apps by many drivers. If you or a loved one have been injured due to the negligence of a distracted motorist, the attorneys at StolzenbergCortelli LLP have the experience to pursue the compensation that you deserve.

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