Facts About Texting and Driving

HOW TEXTING AND DRIVING AFFECTS EVERYONE

There are several reasons people give for texting while driving: reporting arrival status; in a hurry; stuck in traffic; family or other relationship pressure. New smartphone technology has made texting easier, especially with the introduction of text swype and voice-to-text functions. Although we’ve all been warned, many drivers adopt a “not me” attitude and convince themselves that they are still in control when they text.

THE TRUTH

Data from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows a disturbing trend when it comes to distracted driving. Every year since 2010, the number of deaths related to distracted driving has increased. These fatal distraction-affected crashes disproportionately involve drivers under the age of 30.

When someone texts and drives, they greatly increase their risk of being involved in a crash. For at least five seconds, their eyes are off the road, their hands are off the wheel, and their minds are off driving. They are effectively driving as though they are blindfolded with their hands tied during that time.

THE NUMBERS

The report, Distracted Driving 2015, released by the NHTSA reveals some disturbing statistics.

  • On average, nine people are killed everyday and over 1,000 are injured in a crash related to distracted driving.
  • In 2015, distracted driving accounted for 10 percent of all motor vehicle deaths and 15 percent of all motor vehicle injuries.
  • Fourteen percent of distraction-affected crashes in 2015 were reported to involve cell phone use.
  • At least 551 pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non-occupants were killed in distraction-affected crashes.

Despite these stats, a survey published by the NHTSA shows that 20 percent of drivers aged 18-20 and 30 percent of drivers age 21-34 do not believe that texting affects their ability to drive.

PREVENTION

Local lawmakers are getting involved. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, as of June 2017, 47 states and the District of Columbia have imposed a ban on texting and driving for all drivers. Drivers who violate these laws can be fined and in some cases, face criminal charges.

Employers are getting tough. To reduce their risk of liability from a crash, some employers have imposed bans on employee cell phone use while driving. These bans target employees who are operating company vehicles, driving on company property, or driving while conducting company business. Employees who are discovered violating these restrictions can face disciplinary action. In some cases this can involve termination of employment.

Technology makers are providing options. Cell phone blocking technology is available to combat texting and driving. These apps and devices keep drivers away from their phones and focused on the road by blocking phone calls, texting, and internet access. The technology can either be installed in a vehicle, downloaded onto a phone, or accessed through a wireless service plan. Cell phone blocking technology can be an effective tool for employers, parents, or even self-regulation.

YOUR RIGHTS

Despite ongoing campaigns to deter texting and driving, some drivers will remain stubborn and continue the practice, endangering the safety and well-being of themselves and others. Despite the most vigilant of efforts, you or your loved ones may be injured in a distraction-affected crash. In such cases, you may want to seek the counsel of an experienced Milwaukee personal injury lawyer to discuss your rights.

Hickey-TurimThanks to our friends and contributors from Hickey & Turim SC for their insight into texting and driving.