It’s common knowledge that using a phone while driving can increase the risk of a crash. That is why most states have introduced laws to limit when and how drivers can use their phones.
Yet, what is less clear, is precisely how many crashes cellphone use plays a role in. Reports put cellphone use as a factor in 377 fatal crashes in 2021, but many feel the true figure is much higher.
Not all phone use makes it into crash data
The police typically only record cellphone use as a factor in a crash when the driver admits they were using their phone or someone saw them doing so and informs the police. That means some phone use goes unrecorded.
Two ways of recording cellphone usage could improve statistics
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) suggests two pieces of technology can help to facilitate a more accurate picture of the problem:
- Roadside cameras: The IIHS found these had 72% accuracy in identifying cellphone use by drivers. If a camera a driver passed just before crashing caught them on their phone, there’s a fair chance their phone use contributed to the crash.
- Telematics: Apps installed on drivers’ cellphones can gather data about their actions, such as when they touch the phone. Some insurers offer drivers discounts to install them, as it helps them to assess the driver’s crash risk. It can also prove whether or not a driver was on their phone if/when they crash.
If a driver injures you in a collision, understanding how to access information that shows whether they were on their phone could help you to construct your claim for compensation.