Even police cars may not be enough to deter distracted driving

Many drivers in Texas and around the country are so focused on their smartphones that they refuse to put the devices down even when they see a police car according to the results of a study released by an auto insurance company. Root Insurance, which offers its customers a 10 percent discount if they agree not to use their phones while behind the wheel, commissioned a Virginia-based market research company to conduct the distracted driving survey.

An alarming 38 percent of the motorists surveyed said that a law enforcement vehicle did not deter them from using their cellphones despite laws banning the practice. The results of the study suggest that American drivers spend about 13 minutes every day looking at smartphone screens instead of watching the road. More than half of the respondents admitted to using the devices to engage in email or text message conversations with multiple people.

The survey also reveals that drivers are frequently quick to condemn others for behavior that they routinely engage in. Virtually all of the participants said they considered cellphones to be a serious road safety threat and almost nine in 10 of them told researchers that they would downgrade an Uber or Lyft driver who used one of the devices. Other forms of dangerous behavior drivers confessed to included playing with a pet, changing clothes, and applying makeup.

Establishing that drivers were not paying proper attention when they crashed can be important in car accident lawsuits, and experienced personal injury attorneys may take steps to gather evidence of distraction when police reports lack details. Attorneys could subpoena the cellphone records of motorists suspected of distracted driving or have their vehicles inspected to obtain the information stored on data recorders.

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