It’s no secret that distracted driving is an all too common problem. People are often observed to be manipulating their radio, engaging with passengers, eating and searching floorboards for objects when they should be focusing their attention on the road. Of course, the biggest culprit when it comes to distracted driving is the cell phone, and a recently released study shows that it may be a bigger problem than it was in the past.

The Institute for Highway Safety recently released results of research it conducted showing that risky phone usage is on the rise amongst American motorists. The study found that although fewer drivers are using their cell phones while behind the wheel, those who do use them are more likely to be observed “manipulating” them, meaning that they are using their phones for things other than talking, such as texting or checking email. In fact, the research found that drivers used their phones 57 percent more often than they did in 2014.

This statistic may not be all that surprising on its face, but the IHS estimates that this phone usage contributed to 800 traffic fatalities in 2017. Using a phone while driving can increase the risk of being in a car accident by 66 percent, and the IHS study found that 25 percent of motorists were engaged in some sort of distracted driving, with many of them engaged with their phones.

This behavior is unacceptable because it puts innocent motorists at risk of being injured in a serious car accident. The damages these victims can wind up facing can be significant, too. They may be left permanently disabled with long-term pain and suffering, and their financial losses can be astronomical. This is why those who are injured in a car accident caused by distracted driving may want to get more information about legal options to recover the compensation to which they may be entitled.