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Do you feel like Americans cracked down on distracted driving over the past few years? Maybe you see a lot of PSA-style television commercials and Internet ads. Maybe you see people on Facebook discussing the dangers. Maybe you feel more aware of the risks, personally speaking, than you ever have before.

Maybe you have even seen the legal changes sweeping the country as state after state enacts anti-distracted driving laws, which typically aim at keeping people off of their cellphones behind the wheel.

These things have all happened. There's just one problem: Reports claim things are only getting worse.

2014 to 2018

To start, take a look at the changes observed between 2014 and 2018. Cellphone use soared, as researchers spotted drivers using their phones 57 percent more just last year. That's even with all of the PSAs and studies and other safety information coming out. People use their phones more now than they did in 2014 by a significant margin.

It is important to note that some focus has gone toward getting people to talk on the phone less, and that seems to have happened. Unfortunately, they're just using the phone in other ways as they send text messages, browse social media sites, take pictures, use the GPS and stream music in the car.

The senior researcher for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) who did the study put it like this: "People are talking on the phone less than they were in 2014 and they're manipulating it more, which is things that include texting and potentially browsing the internet or potentially using it for navigation, audio, music...When you're taking your eyes off the roadway and you don't see what's coming ahead of you, you're less able to react to what's ahead of you, and that can result in crashes."

Clearly, one of the industry's leading experts thinks that America's highways are just getting more dangerous every day. That does not bode well for the crash statistics in 2019.

What can you do?

So, what can you do in the face of this daunting information? Avoiding distraction yourself is the best place to start. Do anything on the phone before you leave your house or after you arrive at your destination. In between, silence the phone or turn it all the way off and ignore it while you drive.

That said, you cannot protect yourself or your family from all other irresponsible drivers. Even if you practice highway safety, a texting driver could hit you at any moment. When you suffer serious injuries or even lose a loved one in the crash, you must know all of the legal options you have.

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