Earlier this year, the driver analytics company Zendrive found that an appalling 88 percent of people use their mobile phones while driving, and a cursory look around the roads will probably confirm that figure. Researchers point to distracted driving as a main culprit of a disturbing trend: After falling for decades, the number of fatalities from motor vehicles has climbed for the last two years.
Recent statistics for pedestrian deaths for teenagers show a similar regression: The number of fatalities for those under 19 has decreased over the past two decades, but since 2013 has risen by 13 percent for 12 to 19-year-olds. Media accounts are often quick to blame kids wearing headphones or video-chatting when drivers are actually at fault. When a 14-year-old Philadelphia girl on her way to cheerleader practice was struck by a distracted driver, one local TV report opened its story with the fact that she was Facetiming with a friend while in a marked crosswalk. The driver was later charged with aggravated assault.