Road Safety: Texting and Driving

Texting while driving is illegal in 43 states and Washington D.C.  One of the few states in which it isn’t illegal is our great state of South Carolina.  Other states that haven’t outlawed texting and driving include Arizona, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, and Texas.  However, even if it isn’t illegal to text and drive it may be best to abstain to maximize road safety. The motivating force behind the push to outlaw texting while driving in those states are statistics that make a connection between texting and road deaths, injuries and crashes.

In addition to being considered dangerous, texting and driving is also annoying for fellow motorists.  In Expedia’s 2014 Road Rage Report, 69% of drivers felt that other drivers who text, emailed or talked on the phone are the most aggravating. Other behaviors that were rated highly annoying included weaving between lanes, driving well below the speed limit and multitasking while driving (such as applying makeup or reading).

As far as road safety goes, crashes that occur when someone is texting and driving tend to be fatal.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 421,000 were injured and over 3,300 people died in crashes blamed on distracted driving. Even in light of the statistics, many of us are guilty of shooting off a message while behind the wheel. Ironically many people surveyed who found other drivers aggravating when they text, admitted to texting themselves.  In fact, 55% admitted they have used a mobile phone some of the time while driving.  Although the belief seems to be that one text isn’t a big deal, that one text may result in an accident.

The U.S. government has set up a website to provide facts about distracted driving in hopes of lowering the loss of life every year.  One of the main messages is that when traveling at 55 mph you cover the length of a football field in 5 seconds, which is the length of time it takes for the average text.  Would you be comfortable driving a stretch of highway the length of a football field while blindfolded? You would never ride in the car with a blindfolded driver for that long, yet many of us are guilty of being blinded by our phones.In states where texting is illegal it can be very hard to enforce, so the main focus continues to be on educating people with facts like these. NHTSA claims that the rate of drivers texting has held steady since 2010 instead of decreasing as more states have oulawed texting and driving.  The estimate is that at any daylight time 660,000 drivers across America are using a mobile device.

Although it isn’t illegal in South Carolina you can take a pledge to abstain from texting and driving.  Since texting while driving increases your crash risk by 23 times it is a worthwhile pledge to make. As personal injury lawyers specializing in car accidents, we see a wide variety of cases where negligence has caused someone to suffer greatly. Hopefully with time more people will hold off on texting to remain safer on the roads. If you or a family member have been injured by distracted driving, contact us and we can help answer your questions about your case and determine the best course of action for you to take.

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