Anything extra that you do inside your vehicle that diverts you away from the primary action of driving can be considered a distraction. According to distraction.gov these activities include (but are not limited to):
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Watching a video
- Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
While the above activities defiantly will cause you distraction while driving, the hot button topic these days involves the driver using their cell phone while operating their vehicle. Activities involving a cell phone that can distract a drive include:
- Using a cell phone or smartphone
- Reading, including maps
- Using a navigation system
Of the actions you can perform with your phone while trying to drive, texting is by far the most dangerous. This is because the act of texting requires visual (taking your eyes off the road), manual (taking your hands off the wheel) and cognitive (taking your mind off driving) attention from the driver—away from the act of driving.
Texting While Driving Statistics
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that driver distraction caused of 18 percent of all fatal crashes
- 3,092 people killed
- 416,000 people wounded
- 40% of teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that could put passengers in danger
- Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted
- 11% of drivers 18 to 20 involved in an accident and survived admitted they were sending or receiving texts
What is being done?
To combat the number of drivers who are injured in texting-related accidents, many states are taking action, including
1. Creation of New Laws
Many states are adding laws to the books that ban texting while driving. In addition, some states are changing the licensing system for teenaged drivers. This change in system is geared to help raise awareness amongst teens about the dangers of distracted driving and the ways to stop occurrences.
On a federal level, President Obama issued an executive order in 2009 that prohibits federal employees from texting while they drive—this includes when they drive for government business and while they are operating government equipment. A year later, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration followed with a ban prohibiting commercial drivers from texting while driving.
2. It Can Wait Pledge
Along with states enacting bans on texting while driving, teens and adults are taking the responsibility on themselves to help combat texting-related accidents. Partnering with all the major mobile phone carriers, people are taking a pledge to not text while driving called It Can Wait. To join the pledge yourself, please visit their website: #Itcanwait.
From the statistics and with the knowledge—even with movements like It Can Wait—that the rate of texting will not go down, chances are there will still be accidents caused by drivers who are distracted by their phones.
If you believe you or your family member has been a victim of a distracted driver, we invite you read our knowledge center article Distracted Driving and Your Legal Rights for more information. And of course, please schedule a free consultation at Gilreath & Associates as soon as possible to discuss your case.