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Most use a cellphone while driving, but few are willing to admit it

New data is showing that distracted driving is a bigger problem than most of us are willing to admit.

According to research recently released by the auto insurer Everquote, most people consider themselves to be safe drivers even though they secretly engage in risky behavior like using a cellphone while driving.

After surveying 2,300 drivers, Everdrive found that 96 percent of drivers said that they are safe and only 56 percent of those drivers admitted to using their cellphones while driving.

However, after gathering data from another 35,000 drivers using its smartphone app, Everdrive found that 96 percent of all drivers actually used their phones at least once while behind the wheel in the past 30 days.

The data from the app showed that drivers were on the phone for 0.4 miles for every 11 miles driven, on average, and drivers averaged about one call per car trip.

What could be happening here is that people know that using a cellphone is dangerous, but they cannot resist the urge to make a call, send a text, or even shoot off an email while driving. After using our phones routinely while driving without consequences, we believe that we can do it safely.

However, data released last month by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that auto accidents increased by 7.2 percent in 2015 -- the largest increase in five decades -- and distracted driving is believed to have played a role in 10 percent of the deaths.

In fact, deaths caused by distracted driving increased nearly 9 percent, from 3,197 to 3,477, last year, the NHTSA data showed. Unfortunately, the number will likely increase again this year, as people are even more attached to their smartphone devices.

It's time to accept the reality that using a cellphone while driving is dangerous and not even so-called "good drivers" are immune from the horrible outcome that can result. So the next time you reach for your cellphone while driving, remember the number 3,477.

Keep reading for more information for people who have been impacted by accidents caused by distracted drivers.

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