With the proliferation of cell phones texting, sending and reading messages is involved in almost one in five automobile accidents in the US per the CDC. In Dec. 2012 more than 170 billion text messages were sent or received in the US, which would come to 700 per year ( 2 a day) for every adult driver on the road.
The main distractions are taking your eyes off the road, taking your hands off the wheel, and taking your mind off driving. Over 30% of US drivers reported that they read or send text messages or emails while driving within 30 days of the survey. It is estimated that in the 3 seconds that an email is read a car going 40 mph goes sixty yards, more than half the length of a football field. Inexperienced drivers are more at risk. Students who text and drive are twice as likely to ride in a car with a driver who has been drinking. Apparently they are accustomed to taking risks. The problem is large as over 3,300 people were killed in 2012 in crashes involving distracted driving, up 9% over the previous year.
What is being done?
Laws are being enacted banning, and penalizing distracted driving. Students are being trained on the dangers of distracted driving, but as cell phones, and other distractions increase the problem gets worse. In 2009 the President issued an Executive Order prohibiting federal employees from texting while driving on government business. The Federal Railroad Administration banned cell phone and electronic device use of employees on the job.
As personal injury attorneys we urge you to put the phone down. Read about the issue online, and you will realize how dangerous it is to drive while distracted. In my practice I routinely investigate these cases, and obtain cell phone, and electronic device billing of Defendant drivers which shows the time of usage. A jury may find punitive damages if the Defendant driver was consciously indifferent to the dangers involved.
CDC. Mobile Device Use, 2011, p. 177-182http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/distracted_driving/
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: Facts on Distraction, Oct. 9 , 2014