Texting while driving takes the driver’s attention away from the road or traffic around them. These actions can lead to an accident, as part of which severe injuries can result from the driver’s negligence. Although texting is a simple daily activity, all senses are impaired during the act, making texting behind the steering wheel of a moving car worse than driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
When a driver is texting, his or her full focus and attention are invested in the phone. This attention is diverted while traffic, pedestrians and objects continue to move past the vehicle on the road. Research has proven that texting does not just take the driver’s attention while they are engaged in the act, but also seriously impairs their ability to manage their vehicle for several seconds afterward while their attention must be refocused back on the road. Time lost during texting and when readjusting to driving can lead to serious accidents, injuries and death.
Texting is an immersive activity used throughout the day to communicate with others. But when texting is a constant focus, it can be difficult for the driver to leave the phone alone while operating their vehicle. Such individuals know it is safer to pull to the side of the road if they must use their phone or text. Instead, they continue driving, pick up the phone and even text while they are supposed to be paying attention to traffic and the road in front of them.
Even when the driver only reads texts and does not type a response, the momentary loss of focus on driving is long enough to cause a traffic accident. Lapses like these are the same as lapses when the driver has been drinking or using drugs. Impairment from texting is at its most basic level the same as other impaired driving, but may be worse than DUI in many instances. Law enforcement personnel frequently note the same erratic behaviors and mistakes made by texting drivers, as they do those made by drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
— Continually Increasing Texting Accidents in the U.S. —
Texting accidents are replacing DUI accidents as more common and deadly in the U.S. Although the blood alcohol content of someone who has been drinking cannot exceed 0.08 percent BAC before they are considered illegal for driving and legally drunk, texting while driving has been criminalized by many states. Texting is provided with a zero tolerance status, with any texting behind the wheel being an offense in states with these laws. This is much more progressive toward accident prevention than DUI laws that allow a minimal tolerance to some drinking before driving.
Texting is criminalized in some states because it only takes a moment of distraction to cause a catastrophic collision. When looking at a phone, a driver loses many such moments and gains many opportunities to cause damage, injuries and even death.
Although DUI violations continue to increase, texting while driving has been pushed to lawmakers’ forefront in many states. The National Safety Council revealed in its recent reports that accidents caused by texting drivers number over 1.6 million wrecks per year. More than ten teenagers or passengers in their vehicles die each day from texting while driving in the U.S.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that a person must consume four beers and drive, before being as dangerous as someone texting while driving. A texting driver is six times more likely to cause an accident than someone who drives while intoxicated.
Educating Drivers about Dangers of Texting While Driving
Many groups and associated programs have been developed to increase awareness of the public regarding dangers of texting while driving. Unfortunately, there is not yet a group as powerfully driven to educate the public about texting and driving as the 1980s-developed Mothers Against Drunk Driving. MADD has extensive support, resources and political power compared to any anti-texting campaign, program or agency in America. It will take time for anti-texting programs to develop and gain the power of those associated with DUI prevention.
Although DUI campaigns have often caused differences in opinion and even controversy regarding methods of educating the public, efforts by anti-DUI groups have led to criminalization of DUI offenses. These actions have indeed saved lives through education of the public, political influence, resulting legislation and law enforcement.
A big question is whether the same type of laws could be effective in prevention of texting while driving accidents. Some agencies questions whether consequences and criminal outcomes should be harsher for these types of offenses.
— When You Are Injured in a Texting While Driving Accident —
If you or someone you love have been injured or suffered serious damages in a texting while driving accident, you can seek compensation for your injuries through a personal injury claim. With the expert help of a well-established personal injury and auto accident attorney, your case may lead to compensatory and even punitive damages.