presentation - Hartline Dacus Barger Dreyer

Automotive Product Liability Litigation
American Conference Institute / June 26-27, 2012
Hazards of Distracted
Corpus Christi
“America’s roadways are safer than ever.
The latest data show that traffic fatalities
are at their lowest level since 1949 and
that the death rate based on miles
traveled is the lowest in history. But
technologies such as active safety
systems and advanced air bags are being
offset by auto safety’s newest enemy:
distracted drivers using electronic devices
behind the wheel.”
Time Magazine, March 12, 2012
Distracted Driving:
Key Facts & Statistics
5,474 deaths in 2009 involving distracted driving.
80% of all crashes and 65% of near crashes involve
some type of distraction that takes the eyes off the
road. (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute’s 100 car
study for NHTSA.)
16% of fatal crashes in 2009 involved reports of
distracted driving. (NHTSA)
What is a Distracted Driver?
Types of Distractions
 Visual
 Cognitive
Eating and Drinking
Interior Distractions
Children and Pets
Distractions are NOT the Same
2x more missed events
due to manual distracter
Effects of Distraction:
Impaired Situation Awareness
More than 275,000,000 Americans own
cell phones.
81% of them talk on
those phones while
Text messaging has
experienced a tenfold
increase in the past
three years.
Percent of Drivers Holding Phones
Prevalence of Cell Phone Use
While Driving
*Drivers observed holding phones between the hours of 8 AM and 6 PM.
Source: National Occupant Protection Use Survey, National Center for Statistics
and Analysis, NHTSA
Effects of Cell Phone Distraction
“Impairments associated with using a cell
phone while driving can be as profound as
those associated with driving while drunk.”
Strayer, et al. (2006), A Comparison of the Cell Phone Driver and the Drunk Driver, D. Strayer, F. Drews, & D.
Crouch (Eds.), Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (Vol. 48), 381-91.
Differences Between the Distracted
Driver and the Drunk Driver
RT during cell phone
use is longer than RT
during .08% BAC
But distracted drivers
 Larger
 Lower brake forces
 Lower than “normal”
Effects of Distraction:
Increased Reaction Time
Hand-held phone
increases RT
Consiglio, et al. (2003). Effect of cellular telephone conversations and other potential
interference on reaction time in a braking response. Accident Analysis and Prevention
35, 495-500; See also Collet, et al. (2009). Physiological and behavioral changes
associated to the management of secondary tasks while driving. Applied Ergonomics 40,
The Mix of Cell Phones and Driving
Has Been Deadly.
Auto accident deaths related to cell phone use and texting
increased 28%, from 4,572 in 2005 to 5,870 in 2008.
Using a cell phone while driving quadruples your risk of
Texting while driving has killed an estimated 16,000 people
from 2001 through 2007.
Text messaging = 23 times higher crash risk (VTTI)
Texting = 4.6 seconds of blind driving
Legislation Against Distracted Driving
*For state specific information, see
Distracted Drivers in the Courtroom
Cell Phones and Negligence
Human Factors
 Age
 Gender
 Risk taking
Corporate Awareness of Distracted
Driving as a Hazard
In 2011 ZoomSafer surveyed more than 500 corporate managers and
62% of companies have adopted written policies prohibiting
employees from using mobile phones while driving for company
32% of all companies have knowledge or evidence of vehicle
crashes that have occurred as a result of distractions stemming from
employee use of cell phones while driving.
Public Service Announcements
Distracted Walking
A woman named Bonnie Miller fell into a river connected to Lake Michigan
while she was attempting to walk along a pier and send a text message at
the same time.
A research team at Stony Brook University conducted a study around
texting while walking and found that participants consistently veered away
from walking a straight path by a 60 percent deviation.
Another study published in the University of Alabama at Birmingham
Pediatrics journal during 2009 found that children that text or talk on a cell
phone while walking near or on a street are 40 percent more likely to get hit
by an automobile.
Distracted Flying
After a Northwest flight crew distracted by a laptop overshot their
destination by 150 miles, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) advised
air carriers to create and enforce policies that limit distractions in the cockpit
and keep pilots focused on transporting passengers safely.
On May 27, 2010, a Jetstar pilot was
forced to abort his Singapore landing
when he realized at the last moment (the
plane was 392 feet from the ground) that
he'd forgotten to put the landing gear
down. His excuse: He was distracted by
incoming text messages to his phone.
Thank You
Hazards of Distracted Driving
Larry D. Grayson | Hartline Dacus Barger Dreyer LLP
6688 N. Central Expressway, Suite 1000 | Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 346-3719 | (214) 267-4219 (direct fax)
[email protected] |

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