Would you drive the length of a football field at 55 mph with your eyes closed?
Well, texting while driving is about the same. When you send a text or dial a number on your phone, you are not paying attention to the road. Period. So, for the five seconds or more that it takes to look at and use your device, you may as well have your eyes closed.
Distracted driving accounts for a ridiculous number of traffic injuries and deaths each year – behavior that is usually negligent and preventable.
How does distracted driving lead to auto accidents? And, what can we do to help prevent needless accidents caused by distracted driving?
The Numbers Don’t Lie – Texting While Driving is a Problem
If you think that sounds like an exaggeration, just look at these statistics:
- Almost 3,500 people were killed in distracted-driving auto accidents in 2015;
- 18 percent of teen auto accident fatalities were the result of distracted driving in 2009;
- 26 percent of auto accidents in 2014 were at least partly caused by cell phone use;
- Distracted driving kills at least nine people and injures more than 1,000 every day; and
- Texting while driving is the leading cause of death among teenage drivers in the U.S.
Distraction Leads to Driver Errors
Drivers who are distracted by their devices make all kinds of mistakes.
They do not maintain consistent speeds. They veer in and out of their lane. They lose awareness of their surroundings and follow too closely. They forget to use turn signals. They miss traffic signs. They run red lights.
And these drivers are not a minority – half of adult drivers say they use their phones for some purpose while driving. Among teens, almost half say they have texted while driving, according to research from the Pew Research Center.
Teens Texting While Driving
This behavior is particularly dangerous for teens – and those who share the road with them – because a lack of driving experience coupled with risk-taking behavior makes them more likely to crash.
What Can I Do?
Here are some tips to protect yourself and your loved ones from distracted driving:
- When you get in the car, turn off your devices and set them aside;
- If you are a passenger and the driver picks up their phone, protest – demand that they wait, or offer to check their phone, send a text, or make a call for them;
- Let your actions speak louder than words – don’t just tell your teenager not to text while driving, model that behavior for them, and make sure they notice;
- Wear your seat belt – even if you’re not texting while driving someone is, and wearing a seat belt can protect you if you are involved in an accident with a distracted driver; and
- Be constantly vigilant and aware of what people in the vehicles around you are doing and how they are driving.
SC Auto Accident Attorneys in Myrtle Beach, Conway, Columbia, and Charleston
If you are injured in an auto accident involving a distracted driver, the other driver may be at-fault and your attorney may be able to help you recover damages. The injury lawyers at Coastal Law can help you to investigate the accident, gather the evidence that you need to prove liability and damages, negotiate your claim with the insurance company, and try your case to a jury if the insurance company does not pay full compensation.
Schedule a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case today by calling (843) 488-5000 or filling out our online form.