Once referred to as car phones, the devices gained popularity in the 1950s and 1960s. However, most could not afford the high price.
The 1970s saw the first cell phone. A Motorola engineer named Martin Cooper introduced the prototype in 1973 by placing the first-ever wireless call. Of all people, he chose Joel S. Engel of Bell Labs, his direct competitor.
Fast forward to today. Ownership of a cell or smartphone is the rule, not the exception. While it has improved communication, the downsides are numerous. One most prominent is the countless motor vehicle accidents caused by people looking at their phones, not on the roads ahead of them.
Statistics tell a troubling tale
According to 2021 crash data from police reports, approximately 3,300 people died in all distraction-related collisions, with 382 directly caused by cell phones. Even more shocking is that experts believe that the statistics are underestimated due to drivers concealing their accidents’ caused by cell phones combined with those that lost their lives. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes the numbers are three times as high.
Regulators and safety advocates have reached out and established partnerships with tech companies to make safety improvements before legislation is enacted to mandate it. In response, Apple and Google, without prodding, have stepped up to automatically block calls and notifications during the driving portion of their operating systems. Other initiatives are focusing on incentivizing safe driving.
While specific steps are going in the right direction, distracted driving remains a clear and present danger to anyone traveling on roads and freeways throughout the country. While laws are in place, other forms of justice exist, starting with representation by a personal injury attorney.