Smartphone use reverses a 40-year decline in car accidents in the US

accidents smartphone use

According to a new study conducted by the National Safety Council, smartphone use while driving has reversed a 40-year decline in road accidents.

Technology manages to disrupt advents that’re becoming settled, and one unsurprising arena that smartphone use has negatively impacted is road safety and the prevalence of road accidents.

According to a new study published by the US National Safety Council, smartphone use has contributed to a huge increase of 2,500 road accidents year-on-year, and a whopping 40,200 accident-related deaths in 2016.

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Zendrive has further shed light on the issue, where a newly published study posits that US citizens spend an average of 3.5 minutes on their smartphones per every hour on the road.

Zendrive’s study polled 3.1 million drivers over 570 million trips, and revealed that 88% of all study subjects used their smartphones at some point during their journey. The company further claims that around 600 ‘distracted’ trips are made across the US on a daily basis.

While the research is worrying, it shouldn’t be taken as a conclusive estimate. The metrics used by Zendrive do not discriminate between behaviours on the road such as the speed commuters travel at, for example.

Research in South Africa has revealed similar trends. For example, according to the International Transport Forum’s 2013 Road Safety Annual Report, 32 accidents occur per 100,000 people a year. It is estimated that 25% of these accidents are caused by smartphone use while driving.

The end indication points to the fact that, arguably, measures should be taken to somehow prevent or limit smartphone use in traffic. Android and iOS, for example, encourage consumers to adopt either Android Auto or CarPlay on compatible vehicles. However, given the cost and applicability of such systems, consumer uptake has understandably been slow.

Read: Arrive Alive releases new time lapse videos showing off South Africa’s traffic congestion

What are your thoughts? How can we curb smartphone use in a meaningful way to ensure road safety? Be sure to let us know your opinion in the comments below!

Follow Bryan Smith on Twitter: @bryansmithSA

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