Survey suggests teens aren’t the only dangerously distracted drivers

Distracted driving is often seen as a teen driver problem, but a new survey suggests older drivers engage in various distractions more often than teens.

Distracted driving has become a significant threat to public safety in Atlanta and other parts of Georgia. According to WJXT News, officials believe that this habit is at least partly responsible for the increasing number of deadly motor vehicle accidents that have occurred in Georgia this year. As of Sept. 21, 948 traffic deaths had occurred, representing a 15 percent increase over the number reported by that date in 2014.

Many people perceive distracted driving largely as a problem for younger drivers who grew up using technology such as cell phones. However, a recent survey from AAA suggests that inattention is just as common among older drivers.

Troubling findings

The survey indicates that distracted driving remains a substantial problem among teenagers. According to WTOP News, about half of the survey respondents who were between ages 16 and 18 admitted to sending texts or emails while driving within a month of the survey. Additionally, three-fifths of these drivers confessed to talking on cell phones while driving during the same time period.

Still, when compared to other survey respondents, these teenagers didn't appear to be the most distracted drivers. The survey yielded the following findings:

• Adult drivers talk on their phones significantly more than teenage drivers.

• Drivers between ages 19 and 39 text and send emails while driving more often than teenagers under age 18 do.

• Drivers between ages 19 and 59 are more likely than teens to report talking on a cell phone at least once while driving.

These findings are based on driver reports, rather than observational research, so the frequency of distracted driving for each age group could be underreported. Still, the high rates of distracted driving that teens admitted to and the even higher rates reported by adults suggest that this behavior is a sizable problem for drivers of all ages.

Accident outlook

Sadly, officials in Georgia believe that inattentive driving may be contributing to an ongoing uptick in deadly accidents. This year, over 100 deaths have occurred each month, on average. Georgia is currently on track to record more than 1,200 fatalities in 2015, which will represent the first increase in traffic deaths in nine years.

Georgia Department of Transportation statistics show that more than half of these deaths have occurred in single-vehicle crashes, many of which likely were distracted driving accidents. However, inattentive drivers may also have caused a significant number of multi-vehicle accidents that had serious or deadly outcomes for others.

Recourse may be available to the victims of these accidents. All drivers in Georgia are banned from using handheld cell phones, and drivers who violate this law may be considered liable when they cause accidents. Victims of distraction-related accidents may benefit from consulting with a car accident attorney for further information about seeking recourse.