Mobile phone use plays a role in about one in four car accidents in Pennsylvania and around the country, according to some analysts. Despite laws prohibiting the use of phones and other electronic devices while behind the wheel, most road safety advocates expect the problem to get worse in the years ahead. A team of Australian researchers recently asked 447 South East Queensland drivers about the crash risks associated with phone use. Researchers discovered that this dangerous behavior is more common among inexperienced motorists and women.

The distracted driving research, which was published by the Society for Risk Analysis, also reveals that drivers are not deterred by laws mandating the use of hands-free devices. Many respondents told the researchers that only traffic congestion, hazardous driving conditions or a visible police presence prevented them from using their mobile phones.

The belligerent attitude of some respondents may indicate that public awareness campaigns designed to highlight the hazards of distracted driving have been ineffective. Studies have revealed that talking on the phone while behind the wheel doubles the chances of being involved in a car accident. Furthermore, texting increases the risks sixfold.

Accidents caused by phone use are often catastrophic because distracted drivers rarely apply their brakes or swerve to avoid a collision. When a victim has been injured by a distracted driver but police reports make no mention of phone use, an attorney may study wireless service records and internet activity to determine what could have transpired in the moments before the crash. The evidence gathered could help legal counsel obtain a fair settlement on behalf of the crash victim.