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Rise in mobile worker car crashes linked with smartphone use

The vehicle management and reimbursement platform Motus has come out with some findings that should interest mobile workers in Illinois. Its 2018 Distracted Driving Report has, among other things, linked an increase in car crashes among mobile workers to an increase in smartphone ownership.

Between 2013 and 2017, the number of smartphone-owning mobile workers went up from 55 to 77 percent while the number of car crashes they got in rose from 5.7 million to 6.4 million in the same five-year period. This marks a 12.3 percent increase in crashes. Motus also found that mobile workers travel 49 percent more on the road than any other type of employee in the U.S.

Out of all the miles the average driver travels each year, 1,200 miles are "distracted miles." Smartphone use is not the sole factor since everything from eating to handling the music controls can take drivers' attention from the road. However, it is the most crucial. In 2017, phone use resulted in Americans driving distracted for 107 billion miles. Among the mobile workforce, smartphone use reaches its height between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Mobile workers, or grey fleet drivers, cost employers about $4,400 every time they crash. This average takes into account medical and legal expenses, property damage, lost income and lost productivity. In 2017, mobile workers missed 1.65 million work days because of accidents.

Calling, texting, surfing the web and other phone-related activities behind the wheel constitute distracted driving, which is a form of negligence. Those who are injured through the negligence of another are eligible for compensation as long as they are less than 50 percent at fault themselves. Before filing their claim with the other driver's insurance company, they may want to retain legal representation. A lawyer may speak on victims' behalf at the negotiation table and prepare for litigation if a settlement isn't reached.

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