Allow me to paint you a picture... You’re on the way to buy yourself some lunch for the day. A task you’ve done time and time again without drawback, so within our mind lies no inclination of failure - it’s just lunch. You take the same route you usually do to avoid traffic and reduce the time it takes for some delicious food to hit the bottom of your stomach, replenishing your energy for the day. As you cruise down the road you feel a vibration at your hip. Your phone just received a new text and you’re eager to reply as you’ve done effortlessly in the past, this time would be no different you think to yourself. Sadly, that is a miscalculation, and now you’re stuck between a car and a hard place!
Congratulations, you are now part of the numerous texting and driving statistics! Those statistics show that about 1.6 million crashes occur yearly due to the use of a cell phone while behind the wheel. Among these accidents, it is reported that there are nearly 390,000 injuries caused by these distracted driving incidences. Let our accident attorneys take you on a deeper dive of these texting and driving statistics, as they are mind blowing and important to know.
While these numbers are extremely high, is not just the frequency of accidents of this nature that is shocking, but also how they compare to other distracted driving stats for car accidents. Most people will look at you in shock if you tell them that you drive drunk regularly but might be more relaxed by you saying you text and drive, when the reality of the situation is that you are 6 times more likely to cause an accident texting than driving drunk! Next time you get behind the wheel, you should think twice about pulling your phone out to read, or send, a text message.
Who is causing most of these distracted driving accidents?
When it comes to texting and driving, you may think young driver are the biggest culprits in causing these fatal accidents, but thats actually not the case. Here in Florida, where we have such a high number of senior drivers on the road, statistics show that younger drivers aren't the only ones to blame. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), the age group with the highest percentage of drivers distracted during a fatal car accidents are drivers between the ages of 15-20 years old. The percentage of those drivers that were on the phone at the time of the crash is 9%, a whole 2% higher than the next most age range of 25-34 years of age.
In a 2019 survey of U.S. high school students, it was discovered that 39% of high school students who had driven in the past 30 days had texted while driving on at least one of those days. Not only that, but the study also showed that the students who text while driving were also more likely to engage in other risky behaviors behind the wheel, such as not wearing a seatbelt and driving under the influence.
We need to do better instilling safer principles among the youth as far as being behind the wheel goes and do better to demonstrate these actions. A fatal accident while texting shouldn’t be an experience that you have to go through to learn from, but something you should already emphasized not to do!
Why is texting and driving such a big issue on the road, you might ask?
Well, that can most likely be attributed to how convenient phones have become nowadays. It’s rare to see someone anywhere without a phone in hand perusing social media platforms or on a phone call. Society has fallen into this cellular addiction, which can clearly be seen among the youth. We have a great dependency on technology that will grow more and more prominent as the years progress, but we must do our best to keep these distracting advancements out of the driver’s seat of our motor vehicles!
Even outside of the vehicle we should be more aware of our surrounding environment. A 2012 texting pedestrian study done by the NHSTA showed that “pedestrians who text are four times less likely to look before crossing the street, cross in crosswalks, or obey traffic signals”. They also discovered that pedestrians who text, on average, take two seconds longer to cross the street, leaving them susceptible to getting hit by a driver who might not have their full attention on the road. As a society, we need to take a step back and realize the dangers that texting and driving, as well as texting while crossing, can cause for us!
How many deaths were caused by accidents that involved cell phone usage?
As we now know, texting while driving leads to around 390,000 car accident injuries per year, but did you know that of those accidents 13% result in fatalities! Some of these accidents are so easily preventable, yet they come at the biggest cost.
Since 2012 the NHSTA has tracked between 3,000 to 3,500 fatalities in distraction-affected crashes each year! The largest demographic involved in these accidents are indeed teenagers and novice drivers between the ages of 15 and 19 years old, young people losing their lives before they’ve even started.
With 1 in every 4 car accidents in the U.S. being caused by texting and driving, why hasn’t it become something that we aren’t painstakingly working to improve. It isn’t as if the public doesn’t know that it is a problem. According to a survey done by AAA, 96% of the drivers surveyed believed that texting while driving is a serious or very serious threat to their safety. You would think that a stat like that would mean that not so many people are involved in the act of texting while driving, but on the flip side of the coin 39% of those drivers admitted to sending or reading a text while driving within the month prior.
If texting while driving is something that the general public knows is detrimental to them behind the wheel of a car, why aren’t we putting more emphasis on preventing the act or deterring people from texting while driving?
How can we help prevent teen drivers from texting and driving?
When it comes to a hazard such as texting while driving, prevention may seem like too big of a feat to conquer. Texting and talking on the phone are so engrained in society, how do you get people to realize the danger that they put themselves in when they glance over at the phone or decide to even attempt sending a text behind the wheel?
It all starts with a decision. A decision to put the phone down until you’ve safely reached your destination. A decision to hold off on answering that routine call, or text, from your friend asking you if you’re free today. A decision to trust in the shuffle function on your music app, and not switch the song yourself. These decisions could save your life as well as the people’s lives around you!
Once you’ve made this decision to change yourself, you now have to speak up. Let that driver you’re riding shotgun with know that your life isn’t a game to be played with! Make sure they keep their eyes on the road and aren't going to be another distracted diving accident statistic. If you’re a parent, lead by example and put away your phone behind the wheel, but also vocalize to your teen about the rules and responsibilities involved in driving a car.
What distracted driving laws have been put into effect to protect drivers?
Most states have put laws into place to deter people from texting and driving, as well as punish the ones who refuse to listen. Every state, barring Missouri, has set into place an adult driver text message ban. Some states are even going the extra mile and placing a ban on having your phone in your hand at all whiles behind the wheel of the vehicle.
If you’re caught texting and driving, depending on the state, you could be looking at fines from as low as $20 to as high as $10,000, so next time you get the urge to check that phone on the road just imagine that $10,000 flying out of your wallet!
Some car insurance companies have come up with a creative approach to get drivers off their phones by offering safe driver rates for drivers who stay off their phones at the wheel. They have apps that track your phone use while driving, and if you keep your usage low your wallet will thank you because your insurance rates will be reduced! “One such example is the KnowYourDrive App from American Family. This app encourages drivers to become safer behind the wheel by offering up to a 20% discount on car insurance based on how safe they drive. Other insurers, including Nationwide, Progressive, State Farm and Safeco, offer similar apps and usage-based car insurance discounts. Taking advantage of these opportunities can organically lead to safer habits behind the wheel—and help curb texting and driving.” (Forbes Advisor).
Now allow me to repaint that picture from the beginning... You’re on the way to buy yourself some lunch for the day. A task you’ve done time and time again without drawback, so within our mind lies no inclination of failure - it’s just lunch. You take the same route you usually do to avoid traffic and reduce the time it takes for some delicious food to hit the bottom of your stomach, replenishing your energy for the day.
As you cruise down the road you feel a vibration at your hip. Your phone just received a new text, but unlike the mistake you’ve constantly made in the past, this time you let it ring… and ring... and ring… until you’ve safely arrived at your lunch destination.
What if I get into an accident with a distracted driver?
If you or a loved one has gotten into an accident with a distracted driver who was using their cell phone, call us at 866-954-MORE (6673). Our accident attorneys here at Demesmin and Dover Law Firm know how difficult a distracted driving accident can be and we want to ensure you gain the compensation you deserve.
That is why we believe in educating our clientele and audience of adult and young drivers about the dangers of cell phone use in a vehicle. So call us today for your free consultation.