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2016-10-28 07:18

GET OFF THE PHONE!: Distracted driving is a huge factor behind the recent surge in traffic fatalities and injuries. Image: iStock

USA - An auto insurance industry official says insurers believe distracted driving is a big factor behind the recent surge in traffic fatalities and injuries.

The US Department of Transportation recently announced that deaths spiked 10.4 percent in the first six months of this year. That followed a 7.2% increase in 2015 after years of declining deaths.

Robert Gordon, senior vice president for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, told a safety forum that the increase isn't spread evenly across the country. He said urban areas where traffic congestion is getting worse are seeing higher increases in crashes than areas where traffic congestion is less of a problem.

Gordon said that when traffic slows due to congestion, many drivers pick up their smartphones to text or use apps.

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