A recent AAA survey gives reasons for both optimism and pessimism regarding the epidemic of distracted driving. North Carolina motorists of all ages should be pleased to learn that more drivers than ever recognize the inherent dangers of smartphone usage while driving. Unfortunately, understanding the risk is not stopping the behavior for many drivers.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 78 percent of drivers recently surveyed identify texting or emailing while driving as a serious risk. In spite of understanding the risk, 45 percent of those responding admitted to texting within the last 30 days.

As part of its annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, AAA questioned 2,613 drivers over the age of 16. Among those surveyed, 58 percent identified talking on a cellphone while driving as a significant threat to their personal safety, but only 40 percent support a ban on using phones while driving. Previous studies have revealed that motorists are more times more likely to get in an accident when they are talking on a phone while behind the wheel.

The findings of the survey are in contrast with a previous federal study announcing a 2 percent decline in distracted driving crashes. The disparity in numbers could be because the federal study examined accident reports. Distracted driving is difficult for investigating officials to pinpoint as an official cause of an accident. According to the AAA study, 88 percent of drivers believe distracted driving is increasing and more than 50 percent of respondents reported regularly witnessing other drivers texting or emailing while behind the wheel.

When someone is injured in a crash caused by distracted driving, they could be saddled with expenses and hassles. A qualified car accident lawyer may help determine the exact cause of a crash and hold the responsible parties accountable.