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Smartphones May Be Contributing to Rise in U.S. Road Accident Deaths

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According to Automotive News, a significant 8.1% rise in traffic accident fatalities in the United States over the first half of 2015 is being attributed in large part to the use of smartphones. According to preliminary statistics released this week by the federal U.S. government, deaths caused by traffic accidents totaled 16,225 from January to June of this year, representing a rate of increase more than double what heavier road traffic due to falling gasoline prices and a recovering economy should account for.

Mark Rosekind, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), said that though information received up to now is still too incomplete to allow for any definitive conclusions, the rise in smartphone use is “so significant, there's no question that has to play some role.”

The 8.1% jump in accident fatalities is the largest such increase since 1977, although officials for the NHTSA pointed out that over the full year, the statistics may show a trend back downward to traditional norms.

Rosekind pointed at states’ failure to implement effective laws prohibiting use of hand-held smartphones while driving as a contributing factor to the rise in road accidents across the country.