With all of today’s news, entertainment, and communication coming through our cellphones, the temptation to stay connected is hard to resist. Constant updates and notifications continually distract drivers. Over 70 percent of young adults admit to using their cellphones behind the wheel, and over 30 percent admit to nearly crashing as a result. Though a seemingly simple distraction, texting while driving is a dangerous habit that could lead to financial, legal, and emotional ramifications.
Statistics on Texting while Driving:
- The National Security Council estimates that 1,600,000 accidents per year are caused by texting and driving.
- Distracted drivers kill an average of 9 Americans per day and injure over 1,000.
- Texting while driving has surpassed drunk driving as the leading cause of death among teens.
- Automobile crashes are three times more likely while texting and driving.
- When a driver is distracted, his brake reaction speed decreases by 18 percent.
- The time to break if driving at 55 mph could be the amount of time it takes to cross a football field.
What the Law Says
While Kentucky prohibits all drivers from texting while driving, the laws are often difficult to enforce. The current law does not specifically prohibit surfing the web or scrolling through songs on a music player, and allows dialing, looking through contacts, and using GPS software. The loopholes make it easy for drivers to use their devices without fear of the law.
How can this dangerous habit be broken?
There are simple strategies that can be practiced by teens and adults alike. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration uses the phrase “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” to describe their number one prevention technique. When drivers place their phones out of reach, the temptation to use it instantly decreases. Additionally, if the phone is put on silent while in the car, the driver will not be distracted if it rings. Drivers should put their phones in the back seat, their purses, or even in the trunk to reduce the temptation to use it while behind the wheel.
When driving with passengers, the driver should use a “designated texter.” A designated texter is a passenger who takes control of the driver’s phone while they are in the car. The passenger has the responsibility of keeping the driver focused, while dictating and sending texts, calls, or directions when needed. Using a designated texter will also take away the driver’s temptation to look at his phone while driving.
For parents, a few measures can be taken to ensure their child is being safe on the road. Installing a DriveCam in the car, which monitors risky driving, can help users become aware of their driving habits and how to be more cautious on the road. Alternatively, apps can be installed on smartphones that block certain functions while driving, alert parents when a child’s phone is being accessed, and give rewards for safe driving.
Above all, the best way to prevent texting while driving is to set a good example. Forty-eight percent of teens have been in a car with a driver who was texting, and 48 percent of teens have seen their parent texting while driving. Drivers should take an active pledge to remain cellphone-free while driving, and encourage other to do the same. Passengers should speak up if they are in a car with a driver who is texting. Staying conscious of the decisions one makes while behind the wheel will help prevent distracted driving and will make it safer to travel on roads.
Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC | A Personal Injury Law Firm
Despite our best efforts, traffic accidents are unavoidable. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be eligible for legal compensation. Know that we are here to assist you. At Gladstein Law, we provide experienced personal injury representation with a combination of compassion, skill, and tenacity. We are experts in identifying the legal and financial needs that come from personal injury, and we fight with persistency to ensure those needs are adequately met. Attorney and founder Seth Gladstein uses his wide range of experience to anticipate the prosecution’s plans and find weaknesses in their case. He will examine every detail of your situation to determine the best way to move forward. Contact Gladstein Law Firm today for a free consultation.