Distracted drivers in Missouri and around the country kill approximately nine people every day according to the National Safety Council, but many road safety experts say that the problem is underreported, and the true daily death toll could be much higher. Economists believe that distracted driving drains the economy of about $40 billion each year, but laws banning cellphone use behind the wheel have done little to curb the practice.
The ineffectiveness of these laws was highlighted by a 2016 Harvard Medical School survey. Six out of 10 of the motorists polled said that they regularly use their cellphones while driving, and more than half of them admitted to using the devices to read or type text messages, check social media websites or watch videos. This kind of behavior is considered especially dangerous as it causes the eyes as well as the mind to wander.
Experts say that car makers are also partly to blame for fitting their vehicles with large, distracting information and entertainment screens. Some vehicle manufacturers are responding to this criticism by developing systems that monitor drivers and warn them when their behavior suggests that they are not paying attention to the road. New distracted driving warnings under development include audio systems that become quieter so that drivers can hear audible alerts more clearly as well as dashboard lights that change color.
Proving that a motorist was not paying attention when they crashed is often challenging as distraction does not leave any telltale clues. Experienced personal injury attorneys may seek to obtain evidence of distraction by using subpoenas to obtain the cellphone records of drivers who are involved in car accidents. These records might reveal whether a cellphone was being used at the time of a crash and what the driver who caused the accident was doing with the device.
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