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Texting and Driving: A Bigger Risk than Drunk Driving?

While drinking and driving is typically seen as the most dangerous activity a person can do when they get behind the wheel of a car, the consequences of distracted driving can be as damaging and destructive as drunk driving. It is estimated that a driver on a mobile phone is more impaired than someone with a BAC of .08. Distracted driving involves driving while doing any other activity that could divert a person’s attention away from driving. All distractions endanger not only drivers, but passengers and pedestrian bystanders as well. These types of distractions can include:

  • Texting

  • Using a smartphone or other mobile device

  • Eating and drinking

  • Talking to passengers

  • Grooming

  • Reading

  • Using a navigation system

  • Watching a video

  • Adjusting a radio, CD, or mp3 player

Distracted Driving Can be Deadly

All of these distractions lead to a driver who is not paying full attention to the road, and this can lead to accidents. In 2013, 3,154 people were killed in car accidents involving distracted drivers. While this was a decrease of 6.7% decrease from 2012, the number of people injured in distracted driver related accidents increased from 421,000 to 424,000.

While all distractions can be dangerous to a driver operating a vehicle, the most dangerous of them is texting and driving, as it requires the visual, manual, and cognitive attention of the driver. Despite the obvious dangers of distracted driving, the statistics related to it are startling. At any time during the day, it is estimated that 660,000 drivers are attempting to use their phones while behind the wheel. The National Safety Council reports that this cell phone use leads to 1.6 million crashes a year, with nearly 330,000 injuries occurring from accidents involving a driver who was texting and driving. Answering a text takes away your attention from driving for about five seconds. While this may seem like an insignificant amount of time, when traveling at only 55 mph, that is enough time to for a vehicle to travel the length of a football field.

Teens Most Likely to be Distracted

Distracted driving is a problem for drivers of all ages, but teens and young adults are more at risk than any other age group, as they are four times more likely than adults to be involved in car crashes when talking or texting on a phone. According to a AAA poll, 94% of teens have acknowledged the dangers of texting and driving, yet 34% of them have reported doing it regardless of the dangers. 10% of all drivers under the age of 20 who are involved in a fatal crash were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group had the largest portion of distracted drivers. In addition to this, drivers in their 20s made up 27% of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes.

Contact Goldstein & Hayes, P.C.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to a distracted driver or a driver who was texting and driving, the experienced attorneys at Goldstein & Hayes, P.C. are here to help you with your case. Contact us today for a free consultation.