Are Distracted Driving Leading To More Fender Benders

Kenya Ladislas is a statistic, when it comes to distracted drivers she got hit by one.

“Yes they were on the phone not sure if that was the whole thing when she hit me I think she was upset about what she was on the phone about,” said Ladislas who lives at Fort Gordon.

“I see people driving being distracted by cell phones definitely because their phone call seems to be more important than what they're doing on the road,” says Paulette Rolling, who lives in Augusta.

“Every time you travel there's always somebody on the phone and not watching what they're doing,” says Bob Bates who lives in Waynesboro.

I nearly had somebody run me into the next lane and literally they didn't even put down the phone they were back in my lane I was sort of like wow that doesn't even scare you,” says Ladislas.

“This technological advantage is a disadvantage,” added Bates.

Driving negligence is one of the main causes of rear end collisions, so if were using the phone behind the wheel, are insurance companies seeing more of these accidents

Don Robinson has been in the insurance business for 22 years he says statistics don't say that because his customers don't say that.

“If they have an accident say it's a rear end accident very rarely do they say comment  Do when they're calling in I want to report a claim I was on my phone or I was texting or I was looking up the weather it doesn't happen this way,” says Robinson,

Body shops see a lot of fender benders, but over the past five to six years are they seeing more front and rear end damage.

 “I don't have specific data that really points that out but typically does seem that way that we are getting more and more of the front year end accidents,” says body shop owner Steven Kendrick.

Augusta Traffic Engineer Steve Cassell says the evidence isn't clear about whether rear end accidents are on the rise in Georgia or Augusta.

State wide there were more in 2007, than there were in 2012, but 2012, was higher than 2011, weather could play a role, as much as drivers being distracted. 

 “Probably one of our biggest factors around here is the drought, the rear end accidents go up in the rain we lacked a lot of rain right now that could be a correlation maybe if we had normal weather patterns we might see a little more,” says Cassell.

But what is clearly happening more across Augusta is the number of distracted driving cases, increasing by nearly forty percent since 2007.

“A lot of the accidents that we are having are distracted drivers a lot of that is tied into cell phone usage talking eating, watching a video driving down the roadway,” says Richmond County Sheriff's Office Traffic Division Sergeant Danny Whitehead.

And if you're focus is distracted on the road you car can end up at Kendrick's Body shop  and fender benders are no nickel and dime jobs.

“You could go from three hundred dollars to twenty thousand dollars for a rear end and a front end,” says Kendrick.

And too many accidents because you're  on the phone  could cost you more than a repair bill.

“Certainly there is a cost for your insurance to be increased ultimately dropped because you had too many claims and that is with any company,” says Robinson.

They are common accidents, but we could be seeing more because driving distracted is becoming all too common.

A recent survey found that nearly 49 percent of adults text and drive while only 43 percent of teen drivers do.

Another study from Virginia Tech, found texting drivers were 23 more times likely to have an accident than other drivers.

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