As technology advances, many aspects of life become simplified and easier. Greater ingenuity with technology has led to advances in thousands of daily tasks and activities, including driving. With greater technology comes greater safety advances behind the wheel. Though the majority of added technology has been credited with creating a safer vehicle, including seat belts, air bags, anti-lock brakes, and backup cameras, not every advance has been positive. One of those technological advances that has created serious safety risks is the use of cellphones, particularly the overwhelming commonness of texting while driving.
The Mass Popularity of Smartphones Has Created Real HazardsCell phone usage while driving has been receiving a lot of attention in recent years with many states taking action to limit cell phone usage. In states where action has not been legislatively enacted, many cities, municipalities, and townships have created their own rules governing cell phones. Many states have enacted hands-free laws preventing motorists from holding a cell phone while driving in an attempt to increase safety but perhaps a greater threat still lies with texting while driving.
Texting while driving involves either sending or reading a text while operating a motor vehicle. Studies have shown that texting while driving makes a motorist just as dangerous and just as likely to cause an accident as a drunk driver with a blood alcohol content at the legal level of 0.08. Yet while many drivers say they would never think of driving drunk because of the dangers it poses, these same drivers chose to text behind the wheel and thus chose to pose a serious threat to others.
[Visit www.azdps.gov/handsfree for more information.]
Arizona Laws on Texting and DrivingIn recognition of this threat, 48 states now have bans against texting while driving, which is many more than the 11 states that ban handheld cell phone use while driving. Arizona is one of the nine states without a specific ban on texting on the road, but that does not make it legal in the state.
Arizona recently made texting while driving illegal, even though this law took a little longer than other states since the government believed texting while driving was already illegal. The laws in Arizona make it clear that driving recklessly is against the law and can subject a motorist to criminal or traffic charges. Because os this, law makers thought this law was enough to consider texting while driving reckless.
Arizona’s ban on texting while driving is known as House Bill 2318.
Victims of Car Accidents Caused by Texting and DrivingUnfortunately, drivers who text are rarely stopped before an accident happens. Often, it is only after a crash where someone is seriously hurt or injured that a driver realizes just how dangerous texting while driving is and how a single text message can change a driver’s life in an instant.
A study by Carnegie Melon University found that using a cell phone while driving decreased the amount of brain activity associated with driving by a staggering 37 percent. With such a decrease in attention and focus on the road and the car, it is not surprising that accidents are more likely to occur when a driver is texting.
In addition to decrease brain activity for driving, cell phone users may have a delayed reaction that contributes to an accident if they are looking at their phone then looking up at the road. This delayed reaction is similar to drunk driving as it decreases a driver’s opportunity to respond to dangers on the road.
The dangers of texting while driving don’t just impact distracted drivers. Drivers who follow safe driving practices are also at a heightened risk of an accident caused by a driver staring at their phone instead of the road. This creates a safety issue for a much larger number of people, including other drivers, motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
Statistics on Texting while DrivingIf you still think it is possible to safely text while driving, review some of the following statistics to understand just how dangerous it can be:
- Texting causes 1.3 million accidents in the United States every year.
- Texting and driving killed at least 2,841 people in 2018.
- Among those killed, 1,730 were drivers, 605 were passengers, 400 were pedestrians, and 77 were bicyclists.
- Every day 11 teenagers are killed in texting while driving accidents.
- Texting contributes to nearly 25% of all car accidents.
- Texting is believed to make a driver 23 times more likely to cause a car accident than a driver who is not texting.
- On average, a driver who sends or reads a text takes their eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds, which is the same amount of time it takes to cover the distance of a football field if the car is traveling at 55 miles per hour.
- A texting driver’s ability to react and brake is slowed by 18%.
- Texting is the most common driving distraction reported by young drivers.
- Arizona, Texas, and Florida have the highest distracted driver fatality ratio.
Many experts believe that texting while driving is actually more common than the above statistics reflect but that drivers attempt to lie or hide the fact that they were texting while driving to limit liability or to avoid additional punishment.
However, as they exist, the numbers show that texting is a significant threat to the safety of those who text and those who are near a texting driver on the road. When texting leads to an accident, other vehicles and other drivers may suffer substantial consequences, like serious injuries or loss of life.
What to Do If You Have Been a Victim of TextingNow that texting while driving is specifically prohibited by law, and it is clear that is is dangerous and a distraction, it is even easier to pursue compensation for damages caused by a texting and driving accident. When a texting driver causes you or your loved one to become injured, you may be entitled to financial relief that will help you pay for your medical expenses and otherwise compensate you for your damages.
Though the law allows you relief, you must bring a claim within a specified period of time after the accident or you will lose your right to obtain a recovery. With time of the essence, you should consider speaking with a Phoenix personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident.
At Abels & Annes, P.C., we understand what it can be like to be a victim of a texting driver. We have successfully represented victims of car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, and bus accidents, many of whom were injured by the negligence of a driver that was texting and we are standing by now to take your call toll free at (855) 749-5299 or locally at (602) 819-5191. We believe in fighting for the rights of accident victims and their families and that is the only type of legal work we do. We want to help you get a recovery you deserve.