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Report: San Diegans who text and dial put themselves at risk

Despite many laws banning the behavior, many people still choose to text or use a handheld cell phone while driving. People in San Diego who engage in distracted driving run the risk of having a fatal accident or other serious consequences. A recent study shows just how dangerous it is to take your eyes off the road.

Currently, 41 states prohibit drivers from texting while driving, and another 12 ban the use of a handheld phone altogether. A study from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute points out why: Young drivers who text while they are driving are four times more likely to crash or come close to having an incident. That likelihood jumps to sevenfold if the driver was either dialing or reaching for a phone.

The study involved both newly licensed drivers who were either 16 or 17 as well as drivers who have had at least 20 years of experience behind the wheel. Older drivers were found to have an increased risk of crashing only if they were dialing a cell phone. Researchers note that texting was not as popular at the time the study was conducted, which may be why the data seems skewed.

While this report found that simply talking on the phone did not affect the driver's safety, a scientist from the University of Utah disagrees as cognitive distraction could cause an incident. The Virginia Tech study could only account for physical distractions.

In either event, a driver who is negligent because of using their phone while on the road may be held responsible for a number of things, including compensating anyone injured as a result of the crash. Victims of such incidents should contact an attorney to file a claim seeking damages.

Source: WTVM, "Texting, dialing while driving raises crash risk," Marilynn Marchione, Jan. 5, 2014

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