IIHS survey finds drivers using phones in riskier ways

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RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A new survey from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety finds drivers are using phones in riskier ways.

According to a release from DRIVE SMART, Virginia drivers seen in 2018 were 57 percent more likely to be manipulating a cell phone than drivers in a 2014 survey.

The release says studies consistently show that manipulating a cell phone significantly increases crash risk, and the IIHS survey results show a dangerous trend in driver behavior.

“Our goal is to reduce injuries and fatalities on the roadways of Virginia,” said Janet Brooking, the executive director of DRIVE SMART Virginia. “Distracted driving has been identified as a leading causative factor, and hand-held phone use is the most pressing issue due to the cognitive, visual, and manual distractions involved.”

Another IIHS survey last year found 31 percent of respondents in states that do not have hand-held phone bans reported they sometimes engage in hand-held phone conversations, compared to 14 percent of drivers in states with a hand-held phone ban.

Of respondents, 38 percent said they had read emails or texts while driving during the past month, and a third reported sending texts or emails.

The release says traffic fatalities in Virginia have been increasing every year since 2013, and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles says 25 percent of such fatalities in 2017 were caused by distracted driving.

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