Distracted driving, in all of its forms, is horrible behavior and one that leads to more car accidents out on the road. But one of distracted driving’s forms, texting while driving, is the most insidious of all because it can be avoided by simply waiting to take one’s gaze off the road to view the text message.
Texting while driving can be more dangerous than most people realize – if you’re traveling at 55 mph and look down to check, open your phone, respond and hit send, you will have traveled the entire length of a football field, assuming that it only takes you 5 seconds to reply! If it takes 10 seconds to reply, it is the same as if you drove through two football fields blindfolded! Without your full attention on the road, you simply won’t have enough time to react to a situation if you’re engrossed in your electronic devices.
Driving requires the full attention of motorists, from young drivers and teen drivers to motorists who have been driving for decades. The dangers of distracted driving does not care about someone’s age, race or gender, old and young people alike need to keep their hands on the steering wheel, and their full attention on the road ahead, which in turn should reduce motor vehicle crashes from texting while driving.
Cellphones have infiltrated our lives across the United States, and the level of distracted drivers and motor vehicle accidents that are caused by those texting while driving has skyrocketed, and the serious injuries that accompany such car accidents are on the rise as well. It can be more dangerous to engage in texting while driving than driving with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit.
The temptation to text while driving seems greater for young drivers who have grown up with texting as part of their everyday life. It’s found that the majority of young people would rather send a text message than make a phone call, making hands-free options more complex when trying to respond to a text-only message without taking your full attention off the road. AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign was designed to encourage motorists (both old and young drivers) to wait to answer the text simply.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) has guidelines and rules, along with local, state, and federal laws against motorists texting while driving to try and avoid the thousands of fatal crashes every year. According to this National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study, there were 2,841 deaths as a result of distracted driving in 2018. Texting has been shown to be the leading cause of death among teens in car accidents.
When the person indulging in a distraction is a commercial truck driver, everyone else on the road assumes the vast majority of the risk. Missouri is one of a few states left that does not outlaw texting behind the wheel for adults.
However, that law only applies to people driving passenger vehicles. Federal rules in place prohibit commercial truck drivers from texting while driving or engaging in screen-based distractions from onboard or handheld devices while at the wheel. No matter how careful you are around trucks, you can’t control the drivers’ poor choices.
The dangers of texting and driving are clear as the statistics bear it out, and logic tells us we can’t have our eyes focus on two things at once. Social media has been a force for good by spreading the word of waiting to check your texts, but it also is one of the ways people get distracted while driving; to make a post on their social media account while driving down the road!
If you’ve been injured in a car crash from someone texting while driving or were otherwise distracted while driving, then please call our Kansas City based law firm, and talk with a personal injury attorney about your case. We offer free consultations to review your driving accident case and see what kind of claim you may have.