More Ohio drivers might be using their phones to text and send emails while behind the wheel. However, it is still not clear whether this means that deaths from distracted driving are on the rise. Knowing whether a crash was caused by a distracted driver usually relies on someone in the accident self-reporting or investigators being able to examine drivers’ phones. This can make gathering reliable data difficult.

On Jan. 24, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released the results of a study that compared observational surveys carried out in 2014 and 2018. Researchers found that 57 percent more drivers in 2018 were seen using their phones for uses other than talking than in 2014. However, talking on the phone while behind the wheel actually appeared to be on the decline. Other research supports these findings.

The IIHS estimates that over 800 traffic fatalities in 2017 may have been caused by using cellphones for purposes other than talking. This is based on research that found that drivers are 66 percent more likely to be in an accident when using a phone. Other distracted behaviors can be dangerous as well. Even drinking a beverage or talking to children in the car can affect how the driver takes in information.

Drowsy driving, speeding and driving under the influence are all actions that can also cause motor vehicle accidents. When a person suffers a serious injury in such an accident, they could be owed compensation by the driver who is responsible. However, sometimes obtaining sufficient compensation is a struggle. For example, a traumatic brain injury can be serious, but symptoms often only appear after a delay. An insurance company may claim the TBI is unrelated. An attorney might help negotiate compensation or help file a lawsuit.