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Is cell phone usage causing more highway deaths?

It is hard to argue that the number of fatal accidents on the roadways has been on the rise of late. However, the common wisdom in Cary, North Carolina and elsewhere, specifically that a lot of the uptick in fatalities can be attributed to distracting driving or using technology while driving, has been called in to question by more than one notable group.

Although none of these groups are suggesting texting while driving is a safe practice, there is a reluctance to attribute the increase in the number of fatal accidents to other factors. For example, the administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has suggested much of the increase can be attributed to a stronger economy and lower fuel prices, both of which tend to result in more people driving. Combine increased traffic with more traditional poor driving practices, like speeding or drunk driving, and one can explain the increase without specifically blaming technology.

Another group, not affiliated with the federal government, took NHTSA's position a step further and claimed there simply was not a lot of solid evidence that smartphones and other technology had increased the number of fatalities on the road. The group instead pointed out a historical correlation between a lower unemployment rate and a higher number of fatal accidents.

The point of the report seems to be that any number of bad driving habits, such as using a cell phone as well as other forms of distracted or careless driving, can cause a fatal accident. When a fatal accident occurs because a driver was not exercising proper care beyond the wheel, the victim's family may be able to pursue compensation.

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