If you look around you when surrounded by others, whether at home or out in public, you’ll likely notice multiple people using their phones or other mobile devices. In fact, you may note that some people seldom distance themselves from their devices—almost like they have an addiction to them.
It may be fairly safe for someone to handle a mobile device while in a stationary position, such as sitting on the sofa at home or in a parking spot. However, doing so while operating a vehicle, navigating someone’s property, operating machinery, or anything else can be downright dangerous.
Below, we’ll highlight the dangers of mobile addiction, including personal injury accidents, so that you’ll know what’s at risk the next time you feel the need to text and drive or otherwise use technology simultaneously with other already-perilous tasks.
Problems Associated With Mobile Device Use
As hinted at above, mobile device use isn’t dangerous for one single reason. Someone’s over-reliance or addiction to their mobile device can be a problem on multiple levels, including:
Mobile Device Use Causes Motor Vehicle Accidents
One of the most notable dangers associated with mobile device use that makes it in the news all too often is how texting and driving, or just plainly, the use of smartphones while motorists are attempting to operate their vehicles, claims lives.
Mobile devices are often responsible for causing accidents, as hinted at above. Data published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) captures how 3,142 fatalities in the United States in 2020 were attributable to distracted driving, which included crashes in which mobile devices for were used for:
- Talking, texting, playing a game, taking photographs with, or surfing the web on the phone
- Using a global positioning system (GPS)
- Viewing entertainment, such as a movie, on a tablet
An instance in which a motorist takes a mere five seconds to read a message on their smartphone or to send a quick text when traveling at a rate of 55 mph could result in them traveling the length of a football field. As you might imagine, they could strike countless pedestrians, cyclists, other vehicles, and inanimate objects during that time.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), New Mexico has laws prohibiting handheld mobile communication device use to talk on the phone, text, and send emails while operating a vehicle only for commercial motorists. There’s no such law requiring private drivers (aside from ones with provisional licenses) to abstain from talking on their phones or requiring them to use them hands-free when operating their automobiles. New Mexico law makes it mandatory for all motorists to avoid texting, instant messaging, or emailing and driving, though.
Propensity To Suffer a Slip and Fall or Other Property Injury
A study published by the National Institutes for Health (NIH) in 2017 is just one of many studies that have chronicled the personal injury dangers smartphone users face when navigating different environments as they go about their days. In one study, it chronicled how consumers who use their phones approximately 162 minutes per day or 15.79 hours per week not only were more vulnerable to becoming entangled in auto accidents than their counterparts who weren’t as active on their devices, but also were more likely to:
- Have slips and falls
- Get trapped in subway cars
- Collide with other individuals or unmovable objects
- Suffer electrical shocks or burns
- End up with bumps, cuts, or impaling injuries
As you can likely surmise from those statistics, it wouldn’t be all that unlikely for someone with a mobile device addiction to:
- Fall down a stairwell or escalator or off a ladder
- Trip and fall on a pothole, curb, or rugged terrain
- Run into an electric fence that shocks them
- Fall into a swimming pool, where they’re faced with treading water to stay afloat
The possibilities are endless for situations that could occur by someone being so drawn into what they’re doing on their mobile device that they aren’t paying close attention to the property situation they’re coming upon. Serious injuries or death could easily occur as a result of this.
Mobile Device Addictions Can Cause Product Misuse
Designers, manufacturers, and distributors are responsible for ensuring the products they release on the market are safe for consumer use or, at the very least, if any unsuitable uses exist that they are properly identified. While it’s unlikely that many of those advisories contain information about the dangers of utilizing a mobile device while also using the product, that is a real danger consumers face.
If someone’s so addicted to using their mobile device that they seldom part ways with it, then it’s quite possible that they could be using it when it’s contraindicated for them to do so, thus causing them to get hurt. Some examples of potentially dangerous situations where using a phone and a consumer product simultaneously could result in injuries or death include:
- Operating a water vessel
- Utilizing workout equipment like treadmills
- Applying makeup or using beauty tools in or around the eye
- Using skates, a skateboard, or some other self-propelled equipment
The examples above are just some instances in which the dual use of a mobile device and a consumer product may endanger the safety or life of users. Unfortunately, in many situations, an adverse outcome can’t be blamed on a third party like a product manufacturer if there’s evidence you brought harm to your doorstep. However, if you can show negligence on their part, you may have a valid claim.
Where To Turn When a Mobile Device Addiction Has Harmed You
Many motorists witness other drivers talking on their phones or texting and driving before their crash occurs. Sometimes, in investigating an accident, witnesses or video footage are discovered that point to someone else’s phone use as having contributed to a crash. The same logic often applies to product liability, workplace injury, or premises liability (property-related accidents) as well.
There is help for victims who’ve suffered harm due to a negligent individual’s mobile device addiction. A personal injury lawyer here at the Albuquerque office of Buckingham & Vega Law Firm can help you take legal action if someone else’s negligence hurts you. Reach out to our law firm to schedule a no-obligation, free consultation to discuss your prospective New Mexico case today.