On Teens and Texting…
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), texting while driving is considered one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving, as well as one of the most common. Each year, texting while driving causes thousands of preventable accidents, injuries, and deaths, especially among novice drivers. Statistics from the NHTSA report the following about teen drivers:
- As much as 71% of teens and young people say they have composed or sent a text message while behind the wheel.
- Roughly 25% of teens respond to a text once or more every time they drive.
- Approximately 20% of teens admit to having extended, multi-message text message conversations while behind the wheel.
- Drivers under 20 have the largest proportion of drivers who drive distracted.
In an effort to address what some safety advocates have deemed a “national epidemic,” states throughout the country have taken steps to pass laws that prohibit drivers from texting or using cell phones while driving. Many states also create separate laws specifically targeting teen drivers who may be more likely to drive distracted.
Texting Laws Impact on US Motor Vehicle Fatalities
According to a study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health published in the American Journal of Public Health, these laws have been successful in reducing preventable teen traffic deaths by as much as 11 percent. Traffic deaths overall also decreased over a 10 year period in states with primary laws banning text messaging on mobile phones.
In addition to noting the reduction in teen deaths, the study also highlighted the fact that states with the most success in creating safer roads did so using primary laws. Primary laws allow law enforcement officers to cite drivers simply for texting. Secondary laws allow officers only to ticket drivers for texting after they’ve been pulled over for a different reason. The state of law uses a primary law to ban texting and handheld device use for all drivers.
How Texting While Driving Impacts Your Ability to Drive Safely?
Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous distractions behind the wheel. Not only does it take a driver’s eyes off of the road, but it also distracts their attention away from controlling their vehicle. This can lead to reduced reaction time if something unexpected occurs or an increased risk of collision due to inattention.
The NHTSA estimates that around 660,000 drivers are using mobile devices or electronic devices while driving on any given day. It is also estimated that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million fatal crashes a year, resulting in 330,000 injuries and more than 2,500 deaths.
Avoiding Distracted Driving and Staying Safe on the Road
If you want to stay safe on the road, it is important to avoid any activity that takes your attention away from driving. This includes not only texting but also talking on a cell phone, eating, or using an in-car navigation system or entertainment system. Distraction-affected crashes can be prevented by turning off your cell phone while driving, or having a passenger answer it for you.
To reduce the risk of an accident caused by reckless driving, here are some other steps you can take:
- Avoid using your phone while driving or pull over to a safe spot to use it.
- Keep your focus on the road by avoiding eating or drinking while driving.
- Make sure to get enough rest before driving to avoid drowsy driving.
- Keep your car organized so that you can easily access any necessary items without taking your eyes off the road.
By following these tips, you can help ensure that you focus on the task of driving and avoid driver distractions.
How Are Distracted Driving Claims Different?
In many cases, distracted driving claims are similar to any other type of car accident claim. However, there are some differences that must be taken into account when filing a distracted driving claim. For example, if a driver is found guilty of texting while driving, he/she may face additional penalties in addition to those associated with the accident itself. Hands-free devices are recommended in order to avoid this outcome.
This could include fines, license suspension or even jail time. It is also important to note that if a driver was found to be distracted at the time of the accident, it could affect how much compensation they will receive from their insurance provider.
How Our Las Vegas Car Accident Lawyers Can Help?
At Shook & Stone, our Las Vegas car accident lawyers have represented many victims and families who suffered great losses because of other distracted drivers. We support laws that outlaw this negligent practice, and offer our support and services to anyone looking to recover their damages after being involved in a distracted driving crash.
If you or someone you love has been harmed in motor vehicle crashes, caused by a driver who was texting or distracted, our firm can help. Call 702-570-0000 for a FREE consultation to learn more about your rights and filing a personal injury claim.