The temptation is undeniable. You’re in the car, perhaps on a long trip or even a short commute, and you think of some news you meant to tell a friend. Or perhaps you remember something you meant to ask your spouse.
Whatever the reason, your first instinct is to pick up the phone and send a text message. It’ll be quick, you reason, and won’t take your eyes off the road. Whatever your intentions, though, the truth is that texting while you drive is one of the most dangerous driving activities you can engage in.
When a driver sends or receives a text, he or she takes his or her eyes off the road for five seconds on average. This may not seem like a long time, but when a vehicle is traveling at 55 miles per hour, this amount of time is long enough to cover the length of a football field. Would you drive blindfolded across a football field?
In 2012, 3,328 people were killed in distraction-affected collisions, and 421,000 people were injured. While not every one of these accidents involved cell phone use, it remains the leading cause of distraction among drivers. Due to the fact that this type of activity requires visual and manual focus as well as cognitive attention, it is far riskier than other distracting activities such as eating, talking to passengers or changing the radio station.
The age demographic most affected by distracted driving is younger drivers, especially teenagers. Ten percent of 20-and-under drivers involved in fatal accidents are distracted at the time of the crash, by far the highest percentage among fatal crashes. Teens text and drive at alarming rates, with a quarter of them responding to a text at least once during an average drive and 20 percent of them having admitted to engaging in long text conversations while driving.
Texting and driving is a dangerous activity that contributes to a devastating annual motor vehicle fatality tally. Do your part and put your phone away when you get behind the wheel. If you do find yourself in an accident with a distracted driver, contact the Florida attorneys of Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni & Walsh for more information.