The use of cell phones with texting and emailing capabilities has become increasingly common in recent years. For example, in the month of June 2011 alone there were over 196 billion text messages sent or received within the United States. This number represented a 50 percent increase in text message usage since the same month in 2009.
Distracted driving occurs when a driver talks, texts, or reads email while they are behind the wheel of an automobile. According to statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) distracted driving is a factor in one in every five automobile accidents which result in injury. In a recent study, 69 percent of U.S. drivers between the ages of 18 and 64 who were surveyed reported that they had spoken on their cell phones while driving at some point within 30 days of the being asked. In addition, approximately 30 percent of these drivers acknowledged reading or sending text messages or emails while driving.
Every day, automobile accidents resulting from distracted driving kill nearly ten individuals and injure over 1,000. In 2011, 3,331 individuals were killed and 387,000 individuals were injured as a result of distracted driving accidents. These numbers represent a steady increase in the number of distracted driving accidents which have occurred in recent years.
Family of man who died in a distracted driving accident seek to raise awareness of the dangers of texting while driving.
Last week, the family of young man who lost his life in a distracted driving accident released the text message he was sending when the automobile accident occurred. The family hoped that doing so would serve as a reminder to others to avoid talking, texting, or reading emails while driving. The single car rollover accident happened after the young man jerked the steering wheel and overcorrected his path after drifting into the oncoming lane while texting. Police officers located the cell phone in the wreckage. The text message was never sent.
Distracted driving increases the likelihood of being in an automobile accident because it takes the driver’s attention away from the road. There are three main types of distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive. Texting is particularly dangerous because it creates all three types of distractions.
You can take steps to prevent distracted driving.
The CDC suggests that drivers take the following steps in order to prevent distracted driving:
- Never text and drive;
- Remain focused and alert while driving;
- Take a pledge to drive distraction free;
- Speak out if you are in a car where the driver is distracted;
- Encourage friends and family not to use their cell phones while driving; and
- Get involved in promoting safe driving within your community.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an automobile accident that was caused by distracted driving, you should speak to an attorney immediately. An attorney can ensure that your legal rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve.