Each day in this country, at least one person dies in an accident caused by texting and driving. Drivers who are texting and engaged in other distracting behavior cause fatalities and thousands of injuries each year.
Texting and driving poses a greater risk of car accidents involving deaths and injuries. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes from the road for only a few seconds but, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, five distracted seconds at 55 mph is similar to driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
Using your phone to send a text may have the same effect on reaction time as drinking four beers over an hour and then driving.
Taking your eyes off the road to use your electronic device has a hangover effect. Your eyes may need up to 27 seconds to recover and reorient to the road and for the distraction to end. This effect can occur if you text at a traffic light or stop sign.
Data reveals dangers
Ninety-six percent of all motorists surveyed by the AAA say that texting or emailing while driving is a serious safety threat. Nonetheless, 39% of drivers admitted that they engaged in texting or emailing while driving in the previous month. Another 29% acknowledged that they typed a text while driving.
Not surprisingly, texting or cell phone use in 2020 played a major role in:
- Thirteen percent of distracted driving accidents involving deaths.
- Nine percent of accidents involving injuries or approximately 29,999 crashes.
- Nine percent of all distraction-affected accidents reported by police or approximately 50,098 accidents.
The NHTSA compiled statistics on the number of fatalities from texting and driving that are alarming:
- There were 396 people killed in crashes caused by texting and driving in 2020.
- Texting and driving caused 430 fatalities in 2019.
- There were also 566 pedestrians, bicyclists and other people who were not vehicle occupants killed in a distracted driving crash and some of these accidents involved texting and driving.
There was a glimmer of positive news, in these data, however. The overall number of fatal accidents involving texting and driving dropped from 430 in 2019 to 396 in 2020.
Texas bans adult texting. It also has an adult driver hand-held ban restricted to school crossing zones, public school property, bus drivers with minor passengers and novice motorists.
Victims of these accidents or their families may be entitled to compensation in a personal injury and wrongful death action. Attorneys may assist them with filing a personal injury lawsuit within the required time.