Texting While Driving
As technology advances, many aspects of life become simplified and easier. Greater ingenuity with technology has led to advances in thousands of daily tasks and activities, including driving. With greater technology comes greater safety advances behind the wheel. Though the majority of added technology has been credited with creating a safer vehicle, including seat belts, air bags, anti-lock brakes, and backup cameras, not every advance has been positive.
Cell phone usage while driving has been receiving a lot of attention in recent years with many states taking action to limit cell phone usage. In states where action has not been legislatively enacted, many cities, municipalities, and townships have created their own rules governing cell phones. Many states have enacted hands-free laws preventing motorists from holding a cell phone while driving in an attempt to increase safety but perhaps a greater threat still lies with texting while driving.
Texting while driving involves either sending or reading a text while operating a motor vehicle. Studies have shown that texting while driving makes a motorist just as dangerous and just as likely to cause an accident as a drunk driver with a blood alcohol content at the legal level of 0.08. Yet while many drivers say they would never think of driving drunk because of the dangers it poses, these same drivers chose to text behind the wheel and thus chose to pose a serious threat to others.
In recognition of this threat, 41 states now have bans against texting while driving, which is many more than the 11 states that ban handheld cell phone use while driving. Arizona is one of the nine states without a specific ban on texting on the road, but that does not make it legal in the state.
In fact, proposed legislation has been suggested several times in Arizona to make texting while driving illegal, but the government has chosen not to make a specific law because texting while driving may already be illegal. The laws in Arizona make it clear that driving recklessly is against the law and can subject a motorist to criminal or traffic charges. Texting while driving can be considered to be reckless and can lead to a citation even if the texting does not cause an accident.
Unfortunately, drivers who text are rarely stopped before an accident happens. Often, it is only after a crash where someone is seriously hurt or injured that a driver realizes just how dangerous texting while driving is and how a single text message can change a driver’s life in an instant. A study by Carnegie Melon University found that using a cell phone while driving decreased the amount of brain activity associated with driving by a staggering 37 percent. With such a decrease in attention and focus on the road and the car, it is not surprising that accidents are more likely to occur when a driver is texting.Get the StatisticsIf you still think it is possible to safely text while driving, review some of the following statistics to understand just how dangerous it can be:
- Texting causes 1.3 million accidents in the United States every year, according to the National Safety Council;
- Every day, 11 teenagers are killed in texting while driving accidents, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety;
- Texting contributes to nearly 25% of all car accidents;
- Texting is believed to make a driver 23 times more likely to cause a car accident than a driver who is not texting;
- On average, a driver who sends or reads a text takes her eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds, which will cover a distance as long as a football field if the car is traveling at 55 miles per hour;
- A texting driver’s ability to react and brake is slowed by 18%;
- Texting is the most common driving distraction reported by young drivers.
Many believe that texting while driving is more common than the above statistics reflect but that drivers attempt to lie or hide the fact that they were texting before an accident to limit liability or to avoid additional punishment. As they exist, the numbers show that texting is a significant threat to the safety of those who text and those who are near a texting driver on the road. When texting leads to an accident, other vehicles and other drivers may suffer the consequences.What to Do If You Have Been a Victim of Texting
Though texting while driving is not specifically prohibited by law, it is dangerous and a distraction, which is against Arizona law and therefore a texting driver who causes a crash has broken the law. When a texting driver causes you or your loved one to become injured, you may be entitled to financial relief that will help you pay for your medical expense and otherwise compensate you for your damages. Though the law allows you relief, you must bring a claim within a specified period of time after the accident or you will lose your right to obtain a recovery. With time of the essence, you should consider speaking with a Phoenix personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident.
At Abels & Annes, P.C., we understand what it can be like to be a victim of a texting driver. We have successfully represented victims of car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, and bus accidents, many of whom were injured by the negligence of a driver that was texting and we are standing by now to take your call toll free at (855) PHX-LAWYER or locally at (602) 819-5191. We believe in fighting for the rights of accident victims and their families and that is the only type of legal work we do. We want to help you get a recovery you deserve.
If you have been hurt in an accident caused by a driver who was texting, call us today at (855) PHX-LAWYER or contact us online for a free case consultation.