“Jennifer Smith doesn’t like the term ‘accident.’ It implies too much chance and too little culpability. A ‘crash’ killed her mother in 2008, she insists, when her car was broadsided by another vehicle while on her way to pick up cat food. The other driver, a 20-year-old college student, ran a red light while talking on his mobile phone, a distraction that he immediately admitted and cited as the catalyst of the fatal event,” Kyle Stock, Lance Lambert, and David Ingold report for Bloomberg. “‘He was remorseful,’ Smith, now 43, said. “He never changed his story.””

“Yet in federal records, the death isn’t attributed to distraction or mobile-phone use. It’s just another line item on the grim annual toll taken by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration [NHTSA]—one of 37,262 that year,” Stock, Lambert, and Ingold report. “Three months later, Smith quit her job as a realtor and formed Stopdistractions.org, a nonprofit lobbying and support group. Her intent was to make the tragic loss of her mother an anomaly.”

“To that end, she has been wildly unsuccessful. Nine years later, the problem of death-by-distraction has gotten much worse,” Stock, Lambert, and Ingold report. “Over the past two years, after decades of declining deaths on the road, U.S. traffic fatalities surged by 14.4 percent. In 2016 alone, more than 100 people died every day in or near vehicles in America, the first time the country has passed that grim toll in a decade. Regulators, meanwhile, still have no good idea why crash-related deaths are spiking… Out of NHTSA’s full 2015 dataset, only 448 deaths were linked to mobile phones—that’s just 1.4 percent of all traffic fatalities… There are many reasons to believe mobile phones are far deadlier than NHTSA spreadsheets suggest. Some of the biggest indicators are within the data itself. In more than half of 2015 fatal crashes, motorists were simply going straight down the road—no crossing traffic, rainstorms, or blowouts.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The “Smartphones are killing Americans” portion of this article’s headline is Bloomberg’s. The proper title would be: Distracted driving and poor/no patience, impulse control, self-control and willpower are killing Americans.

Smartphones don’t kill people. People kill people.

When driving, pay attention to driving. You’re piloting tons of metal and glass. Just think about how much you’d rue the day that some stupid Facebook/Instagram/etc. post or text message causes you to main or kill somebody or somebodies. Pull over or – gasp! – wait until you’re not driving and it’s safe to post/text.

And, no, limiting device functionality by accelerometer is not a solution.

Class action lawsuit demands Apple install texting and driving safeguards; seeks to halt all iPhone sales in California – January 18, 2017
Apple sued by parents who claim FaceTime caused 5-year-old daughter’s Christmas Eve death – December 29, 2016