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CDC Study Finds U.S. Drivers Are Most Distracted Drivers

The McClellan Law Firm

We all know that too many Americans drive distractedly, but a new report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows just how great the problem is. U.S. drivers, it seems, drive distractedly much more often than European drivers.

In fact, while 20.5 percent of UK adults admit to driving while talking on a cell phone at least once in the last month (which may seem like a lot), 68.7 percent of U.S. drivers admit to the same thing -- that's more than three times as many.

Why is the difference so great? Do Americans talk on their phones more than Europeans? Are there better campaigns against distracted driving in Europe? Or are we, in the U.S., simply oblivious to the dangers of distracted driving?

According to the CDC, the cell phone markets in Europe and in the U.S. are "similarly saturated," and reliance on cell phones -- including smart phones -- is also fairly equal between Europe and the U.S. In most EU nations, there are bans against hand-held cell phone use, but that doesn't entirely explain the difference, since many U.S. states also have these bans, and it is unclear whether the bans actually reduce the prevalence of distracted driving.

Thus, other variables are likely at stake, such as cultural differences. While we cannot speak for each European country, since they have unique cultures, most young Americans feel lost without their cell phones. A culture has been created that requires immediate response to texts and phone calls, a culture that is much different from 30 years ago, when landlines were the most common form of communication. That culture is at strict odds with safe driving.

More than nine people die every day in U.S. distracted driving accidents and more than 1,000 are injured. While the number of drunk driving fatalities is decreasing, the number of distracted driving fatalities is rising. That should raise a red flag for us all.