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What’s So Dangerous About Texting and Driving?

The dangers of texting while driving cannot be overstated. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released startling statistics regarding cell phone usage and driving, finding that over 600,000 people admit to using their electronic devices while driving.

Texting while driving is one of the most deadly distracted driving behaviors. You may think that a quick glance at your phone is harmless. But, if you are traveling at 55 mph or more, taking your eyes off the road for only five seconds to read or send a message amounts to driving the length of an entire football field blindfolded.

South Carolina lawmakers have proposed a bill that would ban the use of handheld devices while driving. The law, known as Driving Under the Influence of Electronic Devices, will allow for officers to pull over and cite violators for using their phones while driving.

Texting is the Most Dangerous Distracted Driving Behavior

The number of injuries and deaths attributed to distracted driving have steadily increased since 2010. Nearly 4,000 people were killed in accidents due to distracted driving in 2016 alone.

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Distracted driving refers to any activity that takes your attention from the road. There are three main types of distraction:

  • Visual distraction refers to any activity that takes your eyes from the road.
  • Manual distraction refers to any activity that requires you to take your hands off the wheel.
  • Cognitive distraction refers to any activity that takes your mind off of driving.

Texting while driving is a particularly dangerous type of distracted driving because it combines all three dangerous behaviors. A recently published study concluded that texting while driving was associated with the “highest levels of driving performance degradation.

Who is Mostly at Risk?

Young drivers are at a much higher risk of being injured or killed in an accident related to distracted driving, and specifically texting or using social media while driving. About 49% of drivers under 25 admitted to using their phones while they were driving.

More than half of this number believe that using their phone does not have an effect on their driving performance. Men were more likely than women to underestimate the risks associated with using a phone while driving.

Most alarming, young drivers who admitted to using their phones while driving were also found to be less likely to wear a seatbelt and more likely to drink and drive.

What Can be Done? Encourage New Laws!

There is strong support for more robust laws regulating the use of phones while driving. Over 90% of survey respondents desired laws that banned texting while driving.

Many states are passing laws, such as South Carolina’s Driving Under the Influence of Electronic Device (DUIE) law, that intend to curb cell phone usage while driving. Under the old law, texting while driving was a secondary offense. If the DUIE law passes, officers will be able to pull over drivers on their phones and issue citations.

There are currently 39 states that have anti-texting laws and 10 states that ban handheld devices while driving altogether. The combination of awareness and fear of being ticketed has the potential to curb some distracted driving behavior.

Technology offers other potential solutions to the problem of distracted driving. Many vehicles entering the market today are equipped with advanced crash warning systems, such as collision detection and automatic brakes. Vehicles are also equipped with Bluetooth technology which allows for hands-free device operation.

Auger & Auger is Here For You

If you were involved in an accident due to the negligence of a distracted driver, the family-owned-and-operated firm of Auger & Auger is here to help you recover your losses. Call us today at 800-559-5741 and speak with our local auto accident attorney. You won’t have to navigate the complexities of an auto accident alone, and your consultation is FREE!

Posted In: Distracted Driving
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