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Certain types of phone use worsen distracted driving risks

Nevada residents have a tendency to do a lot of things on their phones that don't involve talking. Habits like this aren't necessarily anything to worry about -- unless the phone user is also driving. A new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety compared the habits of drivers in 2014 and 2018. Researchers found that nearly 60 percent of 2018 drivers were more likely to be preoccupied with phone-related tasks such as texting and emailing. However, they were less prone to be seen using or holding hand-held phones.

Research suggests manipulating a cellphone while driving increases car accident risks. While the new study didn't report evidence of an overall increase in distracted operation between the two survey years, it did show that drivers are using their devices in riskier ways. The results echo similar data also showing that motorists are talking less on hand-held phones but still operating them more in other ways.

IIHS researchers estimated that 800-plus crash-related deaths on U.S. roads in 2017 may be attributable to drivers using their phones for tasks other than talking. The report further noted that the way a phone is used can affect the level of a driver's distraction. For example, a driver talking on their phone tends to focus their attention on the center of the roadway. However, motorists are more likely to take their sight off the road entirely when using apps and performing other non-conversation tasks.

When a vehicle accident involves serious injuries, an attorney may get involved if there's evidence suggesting negligence on the part of another driver might have been a contributing factor. Researchers state driver distraction details may be under-reported since data is largely dependent on offenders voluntarily handing over their phones. However, a lawyer may be able to take steps to secure phone data to determine how to proceed with a personal injury case.

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