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Distracted driving may be worse than ever in 2020

We have been through a lot of challenges in 2020. With the year almost over, most of us are ready to put this year behind us. While looking forward to a hopefully better 2021, there is at least one problem that will probably not go away anytime soon in New York: distracted driving car accidents.

In a study of 86,000 auto accidents performed by mobility analyst firm Zendrive, researchers found that 27 percent of drivers were using their cellphones within 60 seconds of impact — and 16.8 percent were using their phones just five seconds before the wrecks. In other words, more than a quarter of car accidents in the U.S. this year may have been caused by distracted driving.

Distraction doesn’t end when the phone is off

In many of these crashes, the driver may have put their phone down at least a few seconds before hitting somebody. But the end of the phone session does not mean the motorist is no longer affected. Studies have shown that the effects of splitting your attention between driving and your phone last for several seconds after you stop using the phone. A driver who was distracting themselves with their phone up to 60 seconds ago — and certainly five seconds ago — is likely to have impaired reaction times and judgment compared to someone who has been totally focused on the road.

Distracted drivers should be held responsible

Distracted driving has been a big problem in New York since cellphones became commonly available and affordable. But if this study is accurate, the danger is only getting worse. The difficulties so many of us are facing this year are no excuse for negligent driving. Someone who chooses to drive while distracted is liable for the cost of the harm they cause other people in a crash.

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