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Spreading The Word About Distracted Driving

The McClellan Law Firm

By now, the issue of distracted driving is no secret. Unfortunately, many drivers fall into the misconception that they are the exception to the rule on distracted driving. That is why safety advocates have been pushing the message to avoid distracted driving even more than normal lately. As more evidence surfaces suggesting that car accidents caused by distracted driving are on the rise, this issue becomes even more concerning. One of the major instigators for distracted driving is the parallel rise of the smartphone. While using GPS, adjusting the radio or AC, grooming, talking with a passenger, and a variety of other distractions can also be dangerous, there is no denying that texting while driving is among the top causes of distracted driving accidents.

Texting While Driving: What Drivers Have to Say

In California, texting while driving or using any handheld device has already been banned. Many other states, however, don’t have any laws against such activities while behind the wheel. According to surveys, roughly 75% of drivers agree that texting while driving should be banned. Even more serious, over 50% of surveyed drivers said that they believed that those who killed someone in a cell phone-related accident should be imprisoned.

In 2013, there were 3,154 people killed in distracted driving accidents and 424,000 people injured. According to a survey from State Farm, 57% of drivers admitted to talking on their phone while driving. This percentage was notably much higher among drivers who were under the age of 30. While some drivers use handheld devices, there is actually little evidence to suggest that this method is any safer than talking on a hand-held cell phone. Any type of distraction that takes the driver’s mind off the road can be dangerous.

Young Drivers & the Lure of Texting

While drivers of all ages have been found responsible for distracted driving accidents related to cell phone usage, younger drivers are most likely to be involved in such accidents.

Consider these statistics:

  • 10% of drivers younger than 20-years-old involved in fatal crashes were engaged in distracted driving.
  • Drivers in their 20s are responsible for 27% of fatal distracted driving accidents.
  • 20% of teens admit to having multi-text message conversations while driving.

Young drivers are far more susceptible to engage in dangerous distracted driving habits while behind the wheel. Added to the fact that younger drivers are more inexperienced, it can be extremely difficult for a teen driver to adjust to an emergency situation—especially when their mind isn’t 100% on the road.

How Many States Have Bans on Texting While Driving?

Updated January 2016

Five seconds is the average time it takes to read or send a text message. That is five seconds that a driver’s eyes are off the road. If that driver was travelling at just 55mph (much slower than average highway speed), they would cover the length of a football field—without seeing anything going on around them.

It is clear that texting while driving poses a serious danger. That is why The National Transportation Board has sought a federal ban on the use of any electronic devices while driving. While no such law has been passed yet, many more states have stepped in to pass laws against cell phone use while driving.

For example, nearly all states have bans against texting while driving except for:

  • Arizona
  • Montana
  • Missouri – only banned for drivers 21 years or younger
  • Texas – only banned for intermediate drivers and school crossing zones

Despite the increased number of states who recently passed laws against texting while driving, the issue still remains extremely prominent. Make sure you don’t become a statistic. Avoid texting while driving or other distractions when getting behind the wheel.

If you have been injured by a distracted driver, do not hesitate to reach out to The McClellan Law Firm.