It is illegal to text and drive. It is dangerous and deadly—period. It’s not just California that recognizes the dangers of distracted driving, either. A recent survey conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that texting while driving doubles the risk of an almost accident or actual crash. It also revealed that texters have their eyes off the road for up to 23 seconds.
Anything can and does happen in those 23 seconds, which may mean the difference between serious, life-altering injuries and/or death.
There are three types of distractions while driving—cognitive, manual and visual—and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say texting is an extremely serious distraction because it involves all three types of distractions. Not many people seem to “get it” though, and in a phone survey conducted by the NHTSA of over 6,000 drivers 18 years of age and older, just about one-fifth of the participants said they sent texts or emails while driving.
A further 25 percent also said this did not affect their performance behind the wheel. If traffic accident statistics in all of the states across America are examined closely, this statement is hardly accurate.
Driving while distracted is negligence. Negligence can be the foundation for a wrongful death lawsuit that may financially break you. Is it worth the life of another and financial ruin to send texts while driving? For the lives of others and your own life, it can wait.
If you drive and text at the same time, you risk a serious or fatal accident. You could lose your life — and you could kill someone else — because you could not wait to make a call later. Drinking and driving risk awareness is well-supported, but texting and driving, talking and driving and surfing the web and driving are just as deadly.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving killed 3,328 people and injured 421,000 more in 2013. In 2009, 13 percent of all drivers surveyed admitted to checking the internet while driving. By 2013, that figure had jumped to 24 percent. Furthermore, at least 50 percent of those under the age of 25 have driven while distracted. Some even feel those estimates are too low; figures could stand closer to 91 percent for drivers of all ages. But in spite of these numbers, people keep their eyes on their phones.
As you read this, 660,000 drivers are using mobile devices, adjusting them, talking on them, and programming or texting. If every one of them got into an accident, there would be a lot of people dead by the end of this sentence. Some of them have children in their cars. In 2011, the NHTSA calculated that 1.1 million collisions took place across the country. 213,000 to 694,000 of them were caused by texting. Current measurements are far from exact. Texting and distraction accidents are often difficult to prove after the fact.
Imagine driving 65 mph down one of the busiest freeways in California while blindfolded. No one would do that, right? The fact is, by texting or doing anything other than driving, you can’t see where you are going. Your eyes are not on the road and other vehicles. Your head is bobbing up and down, looking into your lap at your phone.
Now, police seize cell phones and other mobile devices immediately after a wreck to check for calls/texts sent around the time of the collision. In the case of a fatal wreck, search warrants are issued for phones. However, investigations still do not show whether a driver was using the internet via phone before his or her crash. A great many accidents cannot be confirmed as distraction events, so some may feel free to text and drive without the risk of being “caught”. Unfortunately, getting caught is the least of their worries. Their decision may cost them their lives.