Texting and driving has been a significant problem on the road for some time now, and statistics show that cell phone use while driving only getting worse. In fact, the National Safety Council found that people using cell phones while driving accounts for an estimated 1.6 million car accidents in the United States each year. But, what makes texting and driving so dangerous? And how can it lead to a car accident? We discuss the answers to these questions as well as what to do if you’ve been injured in an accident caused by texting and driving here.
Why is texting while driving dangerous?
Texting and driving has been compared to drinking and driving due to the level of distraction it can cause. In fact, a study conducted by Car and Driver magazine found that people who were texting and driving had slower reaction times than those with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 (the legal limit). And, a research study conducted by the University of Utah found that talking or text messaging on your cell phone while driving quadruples your risk of getting into a motor vehicle accident. Another study has shown that an estimated nine people a day die as a result of distracted driving.
These driving statistics and studies show the profound danger that these type of distracted driving behaviors can cause to the driver, their passengers, and other vehicles on the road. Even glancing down at your phone for a split second can result in a dangerous or even deadly car accident. The best way to prevent distracted driving and the damage it can cause is to not use electronic devices in any capacity while behind the wheel.
How texting and driving can lead to an auto accident
Texting and driving is dangerous and can result in motor vehicle crashes in several ways. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), looking at your phone to text message for five seconds while driving 55 mph keeps your eyes off the road for nearly the length of an entire football field. That’s a lot of road to cover with your eyes on your phone, leaving you and other vehicles around you susceptible to a traffic accident.
Additionally, texting while driving distracts you in three different ways: visually, manually, and cognitively. The visual distraction occurs when you look at your phone and take your eyes off the road. The manual distraction happens when you use your hand to text rather than keeping it on the wheel of your car. And, the cognitive distraction occurs as you focus your attention on texting rather than on driving and making safe decisions on the road. These three distractions combined are why texting and driving is so dangerous and can easily result in a car crash.
Who is at risk of texting and driving?
While anyone can get into an accident as a result of texting and driving, teens and young adult drivers are more at risk than other demographics. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drivers ages 20 and under are in more distraction-related fatal crashes than any other age group. In fact, in 2017, nine percent of all car-accident deaths of teens were directly related to distracted driving. And, in 2017, 42 percent of high school students admitted to texting while driving within the last 30 days.
What’s more, teen drivers who engage in texting and driver are more likely to:
- Not wear a seatbelt
- Drink and drive
- Get in the car with a driver who has been drinking
While teens are the demographic most susceptible to the lure of texting while driving, anyone can suffer the consequences of distracted driving if they engage in texting and driving. The more frequently a person texts and drives, the more likely they are to be in an auto accident caused by distracted driving.
The dangers of distracted driving auto accidents
The severity and type of injury a person may suffer as a result of an accident caused by distracted drivers will vary depending on the situation. Common injuries incurred when distracted driving is the cause of the accident include:
- Burns or bruises
- Broken bones
- Injuries to the spinal cord
- Damage to vision
- Hearing loss
- Internal bleeding
- Damage to organs
- Joint, muscle, or tendon damage
- Facial lacerations
The more severe the car crash, the more severe the injuries and likelihood that a fatal accident will occur.
Other causes of driver distraction
Texting is not the only distraction that can lead to car accidents. Other types of distractions that can result in a collision include:
- Talking to passengers
- Looking at a GPS navigation systems
- Adjusting the radio
- Eating food
- Reaching for something in the car
- Putting on makeup or jewelry
- Hand-held cell phone use
- Using the phone for other reasons besides texting
- Drinking and drivingTaking other drugs while driving
Anything that takes your eyes and attention off of the road can lead to disastrous consequences.
How to avoid texting while driving
There are several things you can do to resist the urge of texting while driving. While receiving a text and resisting the temptation to respond can seem difficult at first, with a little practice you’ll be able to completely focus on the road without being distracted by a buzzing phone. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when driving to help you avoid texting and driving:
- Set your phone on silent when getting into your car or use the “Do Not Disturb” feature that’s available on some smartphones.
- Place your phone in a location that makes it difficult to reach while you’re driving. For example, you could put your phone in your glove box or in your purse on the floor.
- Turn off your notifications on both your smartphone and other smart devices like watches while driving so you aren’t notified when a text comes in.
- The more you practice not texting while driving, the easier it will be to ignore notifications and pings and keep your eyes on the road.
What to do if you’ve been injured in an accident caused by texting and driving
If you’ve been in a car accident that was the result of another driver texting while driving, it’s important to seek legal help from an experienced law firm as soon as possible. Proving that the other driver was texting when the accident happened isn’t easy; however, with the right personal injury attorney, you’re chances of receiving compensation for damages and injuries is much higher than if you were to pursue legal action alone. Contact an accident lawyer at Florin|Roebig today for a free consultation.