Phones and wearable technology have changed the way we interact and communicate with the world. Using smartphones and wearable devices while driving is considered distracted driving and can result in traffic fatalities and injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 6% of all fatal crashes in 2020 involved distracted drivers, and 7% of all fatal crashes in the 15 to 20 age group involved distracted drivers.

Learn how phones and wearable technology can cause crashes and how the Utah car accident attorneys at Great West Injury Law can help you hold a distracted driver accountable if they cause you injuries in a collision.

What is Wearable Technology?

Fitness trackers, smart jewelry, Bluetooth headsets, and smartwatches all fall under the category of wearable technology. The Apple Watch and other smartwatches can connect to a smartphone and access text messages, emails, and social media.

Wearable devices will become more popular over time, with the global market estimated to grow to $392.4 billion in 2030, an increase from $138.61 billion in 2022.

Wearable tech helps people track their health and fitness better, and they are more likely to rely on it to keep up with app notifications and other notifications than on their cell phones.

The Pew Research Center found that approximately 1 in 5 American adults wore smartwatches and wearable fitness trackers in 2020. The convenience and adaptability of smartwatches make them useful in various situations, including when driving.

Distracted Driving and Digital Devices

The Centers for Disease Control defines distracted driving as any distraction diverting a driver’s attention from the task of driving. These types of distractions include:

  • Manual distractions that take the driver’s hands off the wheel
  • Visual distractions with a driver’s eyes off the road
  • Cognitive distractions that keep a driver’s attention from safely operating their vehicle

Cell phone use involves all three types of distractions since a driver must take their eyes off the road to answer their phone. It includes calling, texting, looking at apps, and various other uses.

Wearable devices, like smartwatches, also increase the risk of a distracted driver. The National Safety Council (NSC) found that while people recognize manual and visual distractions, they may not realize cognitive distractions, such as talking on their smartwatches.

For instance, when the driver receives an incoming call notification on their smartwatch, they may turn their attention away from oncoming traffic to answer it. Due to their cognitive distraction, they are less likely to notice road obstructions, pedestrians crossing the street, and approaching vehicles. Their failure to miss visual cues increases the likelihood of an accident.

Facts on Accidents Caused by Distracted Driving with Digital Devices

A 2018 study found that using a cell phone while driving is the same as driving under the influence. It stated that wearing a headset and holding a cell phone increases the reaction time for a driver to brake on time and prevent an accident.

The NHTSA reported 354 fatal accidents caused by distractions from cell phones and other electronic devices in 2020. It reported at least one of the drivers talked, listened, and used their cell phone at the time of the crash. As a result, 396 people died from cellphone-related collisions.

Distracted Drivers are Liable for Their Actions

In Utah, distracted drivers can be held liable for their actions when they result in injury to another. The state’s traffic laws prohibit the use of wireless communication devices when driving a motor vehicle. The law defines these devices as:

  • Cell or portable phones
  • Devices with text messaging capabilities
  • Digital assistants
  • Tablets, laptops, or computers (stand-alone)
  • GPS devices

The statute also specifies that drivers who make phone calls, record, take or view photos or videos, or send text messages violate the law.

If you suffered injuries in an accident with a distracted driver who was using their phone or wearable technology, you have the right to seek compensation. Since Utah is a no-fault state, you can work with your attorney to file a claim with your insurer.

However, if your accident-related expenses exceed Utah’s personal injury thresholds, you can file with their liability insurance or start a personal injury claim in court. The serious injury threshold includes a life-altering injury or over $3,000 in medical bills.

Call a Car Accident Attorney When a Distracted Driver Injures You

A skilled attorney can help you determine whether you are entitled to compensation if you were injured due to someone else’s distracted driving.

The car accident attorneys at Great West Injury Law can help you investigate the accident that caused your injuries to find evidence that the other driver was distracted by their phone or other wearable technology when they hit your car.

Contact us to request a free consultation for your auto collision case.