With the growing use of technology, people can be in constant communication. We call, email, and use social media to share information and keep up with friends and family every day, at any time. The use of text messages has become a common and quick way to chat. According to a 2013 Nielsen Company study, approximately 94 percent of American consumers over age 16 use a mobile phone, and the average user will send and receive over 700 text messages a month. While this can make many aspects of life easier, texting in particular can present some real and serious dangers, especially when drivers text from behind the wheel. Learn more about the risks associated with texting and driving, and learn some good tips to avoid this distraction.
Texting and Driving Is Responsible for Dangerous Crashes Every Day
Even though nearly all drivers acknowledge that texting and driving is dangerous, about half of them admit to doing so. Every day, eight people are killed and over 1,100 are injured in car accidents involving a distracted driver. Texting while driving is a common distraction, which takes the drivers attention away from the task of driving.
Text Messages Distract Drivers in a Number of Ways
There are three main types of distractions noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that can cause a driver to lose focus on the task of driving. These types are:
- Cognitive – taking your mind off driving.
- Visual – taking your eyes off the road.
- Manual – taking your hands off the steering wheel.
Texting and driving is especially dangerous because it combines all three types of distraction, increasing the risk that the driver will be involved in a crash. Drivers can have difficulty spotting changing traffic conditions, have trouble maintaining speed, veer from their lane, and many more behaviors that lead to an accident.
Hands-Free Technology Does Not Decrease the Risks
Many drivers attempt to use hands-free technology to continue to send and receive text messages while driving. Unfortunately, recent investigation into these devices has found that they do not, in fact, decrease the risks. Researchers at the University of Utah reported that even when a driver uses a hands-free system, they are still distracted, and it can take up to an average of 27 seconds for the driver to return full attention to the road. In 27 seconds, a driver traveling 25 mph will cover the length of three football fields.
Laws Ban or Restrict Texting and Driving in Most States
In an attempt to promote the safety of everyone on the road, most states have enacted laws that limit or ban texting and driving over the last decade. These laws include:
- Texas – In Texas, texting is prohibited for novice drivers (any driver within the first year of licensure) and bus drivers. Additionally, all drivers are banned from all cell phone use in school zones.
- Washington, D.C. – All drivers in D.C. are prohibited from texting while driving. Novice drivers and bus drivers may not use a cell phone at all behind the wheel.
Helpful Tips to Prevent Texting and Driving Accidents
The distraction caused by texting and driving can be prevented, and many serious accidents can be avoided. To help keep everyone on the road safe, it is a good idea to:
- Silence your cell phone while driving. It can help reduce the temptation to respond to a call or text from behind the wheel.
- Set your phone’s automatic response. Many phones offer a feature that will automatically reply to incoming text messages to say that you are driving and will respond when you have reached your destination.
- Don’t allow others you ride with to text and drive. Speak up. Let others know that texting and driving is dangerous.
- Give clear instructions to new drivers. Set rules and make sure to enforce them. Make it clear from the start that texting and driving is unacceptable.
Accidents happen every day when drivers disregard their duty to safely and responsibly operate their vehicles by texting and driving. If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be eligible to make a claim. Call the experienced accident lawyers at Kennedy Hodges, L.L.P, today at 855-947-0707 to learn more about your rights and possible legal options.