1. Distractions Are Deadly
Texting while driving is even more dangerous in some situations than driving drunk. This is because both the driver’s hands and eyes are not where they should be. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that over 3,100 people were killed in 2020 due to driving distractions. Cellphones are a major factor in these crashes, whether the driver is looking at their phone or another passenger’s device. Nearly every demographic engages in risky behaviors, with nearly 325,000 accidents each year attributed to distracted driving.
The results of a well-known study from 1981 hold true today – 93% of people believe they are “above average” drivers. Most people insist that they can text and drive without any decrease in attention or increase in risk. If the data concerning car accident injuries and deaths aren’t convincing, or the risk of being charged with fines is no deterrent, consider some other reasons why texting and driving is a poor choice.
2. Your Brain Can’t Drive and Text at the Same Time
Both texting and driving are tasks that require visual, cognitive, and physical attention at the same time. Taking even one hand off the wheel to read or type a text means less control of the car if another driver swerves or an animal crosses the road. The decrease in focus and concentration on the road and a driver’s surroundings can lead to auto accidents.
Recent studies have shown that reading messages or typing texts drastically slows a driver’s reaction time. Drivers also wander out of their lane more. Even using talk-to-text features that don’t require a driver to look down can create “inattentional blindness,” where the mind is distracted enough that it doesn’t recognize potential dangers in time.
3. Texts Take a Football Field to Read
It takes an average of five seconds to read a text. If a driver is moving at 55 mph, they will travel the length of a football field (360 feet) in the time it takes to look back at the road. That’s like driving that distance with their eyes closed – the driver doesn’t fully know what’s happening and could easily stray out of their lane into another car.
It also takes an additional three seconds for the mind to adjust to what it’s seeing when the driver looks back at the road. Losing that much reaction time can make the difference between being in a devastating crash and avoiding one.
Our roads will only be safer when we all understand the grave risks associated with distracted driving and make a conscious decision not to text while behind the wheel. Remember, each text or notification can wait – it is not worth a life. If you or someone you know was involved in a distracted driving accident, contact the car accident lawyers at SMT Legal today and schedule a Free Consultation.