Survey shows 660,000 drivers using cellphones at any given moment

A recent survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that U.S. drivers are still distracted by cellphones and other electronic devices at an alarming rate - despite widespread efforts to curb the dangerous practice of distracted driving.

According to an NHTSA press release dated April 5, 2013, the survey shows that there are an estimated 660,000 drivers using cellphones or electronic devices at any given moment in the U.S. during daylight hours. That number remains unchanged from 2010, NHTSA reports, in spite of numerous public safety campaigns and legal measures enacted in recent years in the hopes of reversing the trend.

Nevada distracted driving law

According to the NHTSA, 39 states currently have laws banning text messaging for all drivers. Ten states - Nevada included - bar handheld cellphone use of any kind for all drivers.

In Nevada, drivers of all ages are prohibited from using cellphones or similar electronic devices to talk or text while operating a motor vehicle. Those who violate the law can be fined up to $250 for talking, but the stakes grow much higher when distracted driving leads to traffic accidents.

More than 3,500 known distraction-related crashes occur each year in Nevada alone, according to the Nevada Department of Transportation. The actual number may be far higher, however, because police are not always able to discern whether someone involved in a crash was distracted.

Drivers less likely to recognize their own impairment

According to NHTSA Administrator David Strickland, people often see distracted driving as risky when other drivers do it, while failing to recognize the impact that distractions have on their own driving abilities.

A study conducted at Carnegie Mellon University revealed that using a cellphone while driving results in a 37 percent decrease in the amount of brain activity associated with driving. Furthermore, a Monash University study found that drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to be involved in accidents that are serious enough to injure themselves.

Despite the emphasis on reducing distraction from hand-held devices, however, hands-free devices may not be as effective at reducing distractions as many drivers assume. According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, using a headset to talk on a cellphone is not significantly safer than talking on a hand-held device.

Compensation may be available

People who are injured by distracted drivers in Nevada are often eligible to receive financial compensation for their lost income, medical expenses and other harm resulting from the crash. To learn more about pursuing compensation after a distracted driving crash in Nevada, contact a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in your area.