Why Is Texting and Driving Dangerous?Auto Accidents
The rise of cell phones has had some unintentional and sometimes fatal consequences on America’s highways. An unsettling number of traffic casualties are related to driving while distracted, including the use of cell phones while driving, resulting in damage and loss of life.
Nine people die, and over 1,000 are wounded daily in incidents registered as distraction-related accidents in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA).
Handheld cell phone use while driving tends to be highest among 16- to 24-year-old drivers.
Texting and driving are one of the most treacherous forms of distracted driving. The average text sent or read in a car takes a motorist’s eyes off the road for 5 seconds. This is more than enough time to get in a life-changing crash. With so many less experienced motorists on the road using highly distracting devices, the potential for crashes-and therefore injuries and deaths-is extremely high.
What Are the Three Types of Distracted Driving?
What are the hazards of texting and driving? Distractions. Anything that takes your concentration away from being an active driver counts as a distraction. Distractions are why texting and driving are so treacherous. Distractions threaten everyone around you on the highway and in your vehicle, including yourself. Texting is not the only type of inattentive driving.
The CDC says that inattentive driving falls into three classifications:
- Cognitive distraction: This type of distraction happens when a driver stops thinking about driving. For instance, drivers who concentrate on a discussion with a passenger have cognitive preoccupation. Your mind is on something other than driving. The effects of this influence response time to changing surroundings. Daydreaming is another kind of cognitive distraction, for instance.
- Manual distraction: Any time you take your hands off the wheel. Motorists who withdraw their hands from the steering wheel are manually preoccupied. For example, drivers who reach for something in the back seat of their vehicle have manual preoccupation.
- Visual distraction: This kind of distraction happens when drivers withdraw their eyes from the road. Drivers, for instance, who look at a cell phone to get directions are visually preoccupied.
Texting while driving involves all three distractions. Staring at a phone means at least one hand is not on the wheel. Looking at a phone means not being vigilant and attentive to surroundings. When thoughts are distracted by the content on a device, thoughts are elsewhere, while the primary attention should be on the job of driving. The risks of texting and driving result from the distractions cell phones bring to a car.
Texting and driving is one of the most treacherous types of distracted driving because it incorporates cognitive, manual, and visual distractions.
Why Do Individuals Still Text and Drive Despite the Dangers?
Even though many individuals recognize that texting and driving endanger others, many continue to do it anyway. In a study funded by AT&T, over 90 percent of the participating drivers reported they understood texting and driving was unsafe, but they did it anyway. One of the primary reasons for this conduct was thinking that they can successfully multitask.
Why Cell Phones Behind the Wheel Are So Unsafe?
Today’s phones do much more than just make calls. They are used for texting, taking photos, amusement, navigation, and anything else. Texting on your phone is one of the most treacherous types of inattentive driving merely because it requires so much concentration. You look at your phone, considering what to type, and take your hands off the steering wheel to do it.
Some drivers believe that because cell phones are a significant part of their lives, they can text and drive. The fact is that humans cannot multitask to that extent. No one is an expert at texting and driving simultaneously, and individuals pay for these conclusions with their lives.
Looking at your phone to read or reply to a text message takes five seconds. When you’re going at 55 miles per hour, you can cross the length of a football field-all without glancing at the road. It doesn’t matter if you look up often during that time or if you’ve stopped at a red light; it takes about three seconds for your senses to concentrate again after checking your phone. There isn’t enough time to text and drive.
Risks of Texting And Driving
How dangerous is texting while driving?
Other staggering statistics of the risks of texting while driving include:
- One in five people involved in inattentive driving fatalities was not in a vehicle. This includes pedestrians, cyclists, or other circumstances outside of a car.
- Roughly 9.7 percent of drivers use devices at any daylight moment.
- 15 percent of injury crashes resulted from inattentive driving
- There is a 400 percent increase in time spent with eyes off the road while texting.
- The chance of a wreck or near-crash jumps by 95 percent when reaching for or dialing a phone.
- AAA discovered that 12 percent of crashes involved phones
Most Affected Population of Texting While Driving
Texting and driving impact everyone on the road, but certain age groups are more at risk merely because of the dangerous behaviors of texting while driving. One of the age groups most impacted by the threat of texting and driving is those between 15 and 19. Teens are at the most elevated risk when distractions of cell phones in the automobile come into play.
The CDC created a study monitoring dangerous conduct in teens.
What they found showed what makes texting and driving so harmful:
- 39 percent of high school students sent texts or emails while driving at least once in 30 days
- Texting and emailing were just as expected, regardless of a student’s GPA. Students with As were just as likely to engage in texting and driving as students with Ds or Fs.
- Students who were on their phones were also more likely not to wear seat belts, drive with someone who had been drinking, and even drink and drive themselves.
This study is not the only surprising data about age and distraction.
- The CDC notes that 25 percent of distracted drivers who died because of car crashes were between 20 and 29.
- Per the NHTSA, seven percent of distracted driving fatalities in 2018 were teenagers 15 to 19 years old.
- Drivers ages 16 to 24 are on their phones more than any other age group.
Other Dangers to Texting on the Highway
Deadly results or possibly hurting someone are the most significant risks of texting and driving, but not the only ones.
Here are some other risk factors to consider before picking up your phone behind the wheel.
- You are likely breaking the law: Texting and driving is illegal in most states. You can get a ticket.
- Your insurance can go up: If you get a ticket for distracted driving, count on skyrocketing insurance rates.
- You can damage your vehicle: Even if you don’t harm someone if you cause an accident while texting, you can harshly damage your car. A totaled vehicle won’t be inexpensive to fix or replace.
It is lawful to text and drive in very few states. All other states have some form of law against it.
In 48 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, it is not legal for any driver to text and drive. All but five of these states and territories have primary enforcement laws restricting texting while driving. That means police do not need an extra reason to pull you over and give you a ticket.
You’re Likely Not As Smooth As You Think You Are
When distracted driving (or texting and driving) laws originally passed, many police officers had concerns about enforcing them. How might they see drivers in the act? It turned out they didn’t need to stress. Individuals who choose to text and drive-particularly teens-can be ignorant of their surroundings and the risks of texting and driving crashes.
If an officer spots any of these behaviors, they can pull you over on apprehension of texting and driving:
- Braking to try and compensate for the distraction of texting
- Swerving between lanes
- Taking an unusually long time to start driving again once the stoplight turns green
- Gazing down into your lap or keeping one hand off the wheel and out of sight
Your Text Messages Might Go Against Against You
If you cause a crash where someone suffers harm or dies, law enforcement can use cell phone records as proof that you were texting and driving. Deleting the texts won’t matter; most authorities will go straight to your cell phone service provider for documents that show texts were transmitted and received.
If you haven’t caused a crash, but an officer pulls you over on apprehension of texting while driving, the law isn’t fully as transparent on whether they can take your phone and search your texts. Agreeing to the search does make it lawful-and some motorists even offer the phone to demonstrate they weren’t texting. Nevertheless, if you don’t agree, a police officer most likely can’t search your phone unless you are arrested or obtain a warrant.
Do Most Cell Phone Bans Cover More Than Just Texting?
What about taking a picture while driving? Or playing a contest on an app? Some states have banned the handheld use of cell phones while driving to eradicate any perplexity about what is and isn’t permitted.
Regardless of your state, your eyes and emphasis should be on the highway-not your phone. Texting and driving make a crash up to 23 times more probable. According to a recent study, distracted driving is six times more treacherous than drunk driving. Play it safe, and make sure you’re on the correct side of the law. Eradicate as many distractions as feasible when you drive.
What Are the Legal Consequences of Texting and Driving?
Why is it risky to text and drive? If the accident rate and fatality statistics are not enough, other results come from texting and driving.
It is illegal to text while driving in most U.S. states and territories. Penalties can include fines and even jail time if the offense is serious enough.
Call an Automobile Accident Lawyer Today
The prevalence of phones in today’s world means that, sadly, wrecks involving distracted motorists using their phones will occur. It’s a disaster when a preventable wreck occurs because of a few seconds of distraction.
Despite these regulations aimed at reducing distracted driving crashes, many individuals in the United States suffer injuries in distracted driving-related crashes every day. Victims of a preoccupied driving crash should contact an attorney in their area for help claiming their legal rights to fair and deserved compensation.