Why driving and smartphones don’t mix
Technology has revolutionized the way that we live our lives. We now have the world at our fingertips, thanks to technological advances that led us to the smartphone. It’s a cell phone, a camera, and a computer all at once. Smartphones allow us to stay connected to our friends and family at all times. And they aren’t rare. Almost everyone you know has a cell phone. Even elementary school kids have cell phones these days. While the smartphone has improved a lot of our everyday functions, they also endanger us on a daily basis.
Every day, almost one million people use their cell phones while driving. Why is this alarming? Well, we know that any mobile communication that happens while operating a motor vehicle is linked to a highly significant increase in distracting driving, which can result in not only injury but the loss of life. Checking your text messages, phone calls, emails or any other mobile applications puts not only yourself but everyone around you at a serious risk.
A driver can only glance away from the road for 2 seconds and still safely maintain the vehicle. However, the average text message consumes 5 seconds of a driver’s attention. While that might not sound like much, that is all it takes for something to go seriously wrong. If your car is going 60 miles per hour, and you take your eyes off the road for 5 seconds, you will travel for 440 feet without seeing what is ahead of you. There are a ton of things that could happen in 440 feet that could cause serious damage.
Initiatives to stop texting while driving
In 2013, there were 341,000 motor vehicle crashes that involved texting. It is suggested that there is a one in four chance that a motor vehicle crash will involve a cell phone. Even though using a cell phone increases the likelihood of a crash by four times, it is still a commonplace. 33% of drivers from the United States, ages 18-64, reported reading or writing text messages while driving. Why is that? Texting while driving is 6 times more likely to cause an accident than driving drunk. Even though 9 Americans are killed every single day from motor vehicle accidents that involved a distracted driver, we still don’t do much to stop it.
Currently, there is no federal law in the United States that bans texting while driving. However, while there is no federal law, 46 states, plus Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, have banned texting for all drivers, regardless of their age. Georgia is one of those states to have established such laws. 14 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have taken it a step further and prohibited drivers from using hand-held devices at all while they are behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
Because the popularity of smartphones and instant communication has risen to an unprecedented level, eradicating using cell phones while driving is going to be a hard fight, but just because it is a hard fight doesn’t mean that it isn’t a worthwhile fight. 18% of all fatal crashes are because the driver was distracted. That doesn’t have to continue. There are things that we can do to help save lives.
Teens and young adults are the most likely age group to participate in texting while driving. According to the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, the easiest way to give teens instructions to not use their cell phone while driving is to say: “On the road, off the phone.” Even before your teen gets their driver’s license, discuss with them the dangers of texting while driving, and that it could cost someone their life.
In addition to talking with teens, it is important that you lead by example. People, especially children, learn from the behavior of others and their parents. Be an example. If you need to talk to someone, pull off the road to call them or text them.
Another way that we can help stop texting and driving is to get involved in the fight to stop it. There are several community outreach programs that aim to help stop the dangerous practice. AT&T’s It Can Wait Pledge is a great tool to help show others that texting and driving is dangerous. Since its creation, over 4 million people have pledged to never text and drive. One of the most effective ways to share this tool is word of mouth. Take the pledge, and then tell your friends, family, coworkers—anyone—about it.
Texting and driving doesn’t have to be a common killer among us. Make sure you do your part to make the roads a safer place for everyone. If you happen to be injured in a motor vehicle crash, seek assistance from a reputable law firm like Kopelman Sitton for advice and quality representation.