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Drivers report more cellphone use despite dangers

Some Iowa drivers might be engaging in dangerous behaviors such as talking on cellphones and texting while driving but still believe they are safe. According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, almost 58 percent of people said they believed talking on a cellphone while driving was dangerous, but about 50 percent also said they had talked on a handheld phone while behind the wheel. More than three-fourths said they thought it was dangerous to text and drive, but almost 45 percent had read a text or email while driving and 35 percent had sent one.

The number of drivers who said they talked on a cellphone either fairly often or regularly while driving increased almost 50 percent since a similar question was asked in a survey in 2013. Nearly 90 percent of respondents said distracted driving is increasing and carries with it risks similar to behaviors such as drunk driving.

The foundation also believes that the occurrence of distracted driving is growing although federal figures contradict this claim. According to the foundation, distracted driving is difficult to track and to identify as an accident's cause and is underreported. The foundation offered several tips for avoiding distracted driving. Among them were making seat and safety adjustments, setting up the GPS and securing pets and children before putting the car in gear.

Distracted driving can lead to motor vehicle accidents and devastating injuries including traumatic brain injury and paralysis. These types of injuries can permanently alter a person's life. Other victims may have a long recovery period. Compensation from the insurance company of the driver who caused the accident can be important to cover medical costs and other expenses. However, the insurance company may not pay enough or at all. If this happens, it might be necessary to file a lawsuit in order to seek compensation.

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