Over 2.5 million people in the U.S. are involved in auto accidents each year. Of these, 1.6 million are cell phone related. According to the CDC, more than ten of us are killed and 1,000 are injured every day in the U.S. as a result of distracted driving.
Distracted driving is any activity that diverts the driver’s attention from driving. There are three main types of driver distraction:
- Visual: taking your eyes off the road
- Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive: taking your mind off your driving
Most people think distracted driving means driving while talking on a cell phone or texting. While it is true that cell phone usage is a big cause of distraction there are many other activities that distract drivers and increase the risk of accidents.
Examples of these distractions include:
- Emailing and/or browsing the internet
- Talking with passengers
- Using a GPS
- Putting on makeup
- Playing with a pet
- Changing the radio or adjusting a music device
Those are just a few examples of what people do while behind the wheel when they should be paying attention to their driving.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports texting while driving has replaced drunk driving as the leading cause of death among teens in vehicular death incidents. Twenty percent of all teen vehicular deaths involve texting while driving. At any given daylight moment, 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or other electronic devices while driving
Why is texting so risky?
Distractions from texting outweigh distractibility from other activities, such as talking with a passenger, adjusting the sound system or talking on a cell phone.
Texting, by its very nature, involves all three types of distraction because texting requires physical and mental interaction.
- Visual – instead of watching the road ahead, your eyes are looking for a message, lights or other signals inside the car.
- Manual – to operate various controls, your hand or hands must be taken off the wheel while the vehicle is in motion.
- Cognitive –your mind is no longer on your driving but on manipulation of these other devices and understanding the messages and communicating to others.
On average the time taken away from watching the road to send a text is 5 seconds. At 55 mph in 5 seconds your vehicle will travel the length of a football field, that’s 100 yards. You would never dream of driving a car 100 yards at 55 miles an hour while blindfolded, so why would you think it’s okay to send a text? Five seconds not watching the road can, and often does, result in fatal consequences.
Why Has There Been An Increase in Distracted Driving?
People expect texting to be like having a normal conversation. They expect and want to provide immediate response to text messages. This need to communicate via texting is addictive in nature and people text without really thinking about it. Turing the phone off is just not acceptable because they may miss a message.
Survey results show that 50% of drivers admit that they answer incoming calls while driving and 25% of drivers are willing to place a call while driving. That means that of the 212 million licensed drivers in the US, 106 million people admit to answering calls while driving and 53 million people admit to placing calls while driving.
The reality is that distracted driving in general makes you three times more likely to crash but texting while driving makes you 23 times more likely to crash. Twenty-five percent of teens respond to a text once or more every time they drive; 20% of teens and 10% of adults admit to having extended multi-text conversations while driving. It is no wonder, then, that distracted driving is on the rise in this country.
How do we address the distracted driving epidemic?
Many states now have laws against using cell phones and generally engaging in activities that distract drivers. As of June 2017, 14 states and the District of Columbia had banned drivers from hand-held phone use. As of June 2017, texting while driving is banned in 46 states and the District of Columbia. Two additional states ban texting while driving only for new drivers. In spite of these laws texting while driving still happens. It’s my law firm’s mission to take a stand against what has truly become a national epidemic.
How is the Levinson Law Group Addressing The Problem Of Distracted Driving?
My accident law firm is dedicated to making this a safer community by fighting back against distracted drivers. When accidents happen we are there to support our clients who are the victims of these horrible life-altering tragedies. We handle all the red tape that is involved in the aftermath of a crash. We insulate our clients from having to deal with insurance adjusters, police, hospitals, and auto body shops by handling all of that for them, providing a buffer zone where our clients can simply heal from their injuries in solitude. We are the civil penalty; if wrongdoers suffer no consequences for their actions, nothing will deter them from repeating those actions. We provide support for the victims and their families and act as a deterrent in the community.