Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous new problems facing drivers today. This nascent hazard is so widespread, in fact, that the CDC has coined a term to describe it. They call it “distracted driving,” and each day in America an average of 9 people are killed and over 1,000 more are injured due to this deadly phenomenon. This problem is especially prevalent in new and developing drivers -teenagers and those in their twenties- so we implore our young readers not to text and drive, and we ask that any of you that are responsible for or care for a young driver to please pass this important information along to them.
So what is distracted driving? Well, the CDC has broken down the distraction into three major types:
Visual: Occurs when a driver takes his eyes off the road or surrounding vehicles. Rummaging through a bag, or changing the radio station, qualifies as visual-type distracted driving.
Cognitive: Occurs when a driver ceases paying attention to the driving task at hand. This is harder to qualify, sure, but it is exponentially more common amongst drivers. So common that a sub-type of cognitive distracted driving has its own documented nicknames. “Highway hypnosis” and “white-line fever” are phrases that refer to the zoning out that occurs when motorists drive long distance across homogenous tracts of highway or country road. Other types of cognitive distraction happen as well: engaging in deep conversation, singing along too enthusiastically with music, etc. Anything that keeps a driver from devoting full focus to operating their vehicle.
Manual: Occurs when a driver removes their hand or hands from the steering wheel. Using a directional, of course, is a safe exception to this rule. Otherwise, a driver should always be firmly holding the wheel.
Notice that texting while driving is a perilous combination of all three types of distracted driving. Even cell phones, in a more general sense, present a problem. A staggering 69% of American drivers admitted to talking on their cell phone while driving, within thirty days of being surveyed! And 31% of drivers said that they had texted and/or replied to an e-mail while operating a vehicle. These figures, startling on their own, don’t take fully into account the time spent impaired. The time spent searching for the phone in the first place, and the full weight that engaging in conversation has on different aspects of the driving experience. As always, when a driver fails to commit themselves to safe driving, they are endangering not only their own lives, but the lives of their passengers and the lives of their fellow drivers as well.
While many government agencies are already taking proactive measures to end texting-based accidents, we here at Kaplan Lawyers PC would like to supplement these new laws with an earnest plea to always be mindful of the road. We believe that raising awareness is an important step in stopping the problem. Anything that can be said over a text can surely wait until you’ve arrived safely at your destination. If you have been injured in a car crash involving a distracted driver, however, it is important that you contact us today. Our consultations are a free and easy way to get informed of your rights.