MANSFIELD’S INJURY LAWYER

Teenage cellphone addiction and distracted driving

Do distracted driving laws curb cellphone use behind the wheel and lower the amount of accidents that happen every year?

They can help, that much is true. However, drunk driving also causes a lot of accidents, and it’s always been illegal. Perhaps we would see more DUI crashes without these laws, but the laws themselves have not fully put an end to the issue.

Why is this? One potential reason may be the same in both cases: addiction. When people suffer from addiction, they will break laws, take risks and put people in danger at the whims of that addiction. We know this happens with those who get addicted to drugs and alcohol. Does it also happen to people who get addicted to their phones?

Cellphone addiction is real for teens

You have probably heard parents roll their eyes and say that their kids got addicted to their phones. But this isn’t just a turn of phrase. It’s real.

For instance, one study asked teenagers who ranged in age from 15 to 19 if they suffered from phone addiction, and they admitted that they did. A similar study asked them how they felt if they could not use their phones, and a full 30 percent said they spiraled into depression.

As much time as parents spend trying to prevent addiction to drugs and alcohol, they may have allowed teens to suffer from the same issues with phones. Why is this happening?

Reward centers

The reason it happens is likely that the reward centers in the human brain get triggered by phone use. These centers have opiate receptors. A behavior that impacts the reward centers is something the brain wants to repeat as many times as possible. This creates behavior patterns and addictions.

This is the same reason that alcohol and drugs can lead to addiction. It’s just very interesting to think of phones triggering the same result when people send text messages or get responses on social media.

Evolutionarily, reward centers help you survive. They make you want to do things — like eating — that keep you alive. The goal of the system is to promote activities that help the human race grow.

That’s why it’s such an issue with cellphones. The body’s natural systems get abused in such a way that they could reward teens for dangerous activities — like texting and driving — and actually put them in very real danger. But the brain doesn’t know that, so the reward centers control the teens’ actions.

Car accidents

Have you gotten injured in an accident caused by a driver who got distracted by their cellphone? If so, you must know what legal rights you have in Ohio to financial compensation.