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Why Texting and Driving Is So Dangerous

Posted in Car Accident on April 18, 2019

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Many health and safety organizations have declared distracted driving to be a safety epidemic, and the statistics show that it’s an extremely dangerous behavior. More than 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving-related crashes in 2017 alone, and hundreds of thousands of people suffer serious injuries every year due to drivers who aren’t paying attention to the road ahead.

At Matt Hardin Law, it’s our goal to help people who were injured in crashes caused by negligent drivers—including distracted drivers. If you or someone you love was injured by a distracted driver, call our Nashville auto accident lawyers today at (615) 200-1111 or submit an online consultation form. We know what you’re going through, and it’s our goal to help you get the money you deserve.

Texting and Driving Involves 3 Types of Distractions

Anything that takes your focus off of driving can be dangerous and increase your risks of being involved in an accident. But texting while driving is uniquely dangerous due to it involving the three main types of distraction:

  • Visual—Reading and sending text messages requires looking at your phone. And when you’re looking at your phone, you aren’t looking at the road. Studies show that reading or sending a single text message takes your eyes off the road for around five seconds. If you’re driving at 55 miles per hour, that’s long enough for your vehicle to travel the distance of a football field.
  • Manual—Staying in control of your vehicle requires keeping your hands on the wheel at all times. Texting without the use of a hands-free device means using one or both hands to open and write messages. Even a momentary loss or reduction of control over your vehicle can cause you to drift into the paths of other vehicles, into the median, or off the road completely.
  • Cognitive—When you’re reading or sending a text message, you’re thinking about what someone else said or what you want to say. That means you’re not thinking about the task at hand—safe driving. Studies show that multitasking is a myth, and that’s particularly true when it comes to demanding tasks like driving. Staying safe behind the wheel requires your undivided attention from the moment you start your vehicle until you reach your destination.

If you have to read or send a text message while driving, pull over to a safe location first. Using your phone to text or make phone calls can be dangerous, even if your vehicle or device has hands-free operation. Even a single type of distraction listed above can increase your risk of a crash.

Who Is Most at Risk?

Everyone is at risk of being involved in a distracted driving-related crash when they text while driving, but certain people face greater risks than others:

  • Nearly 10 percent of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2017 were between 15 and 19 years old.
  • Another study found that 82 percent of adults between the ages of 25 and 39 reported using their phones while driving, and 43 percent of drivers in that same age range reported to using their phones “often” or “regularly’ while they were behind the wheel.

It can be difficult to break the habit of texting while driving, especially if you’ve done it for years. If you have trouble driving without using your cell phone, the NHTSA recommends physically removing the device from your reach by placing it in your vehicle’s trunk, glove box, or backseat. You’ll still have access to the device if you need, but you’ll have to pull over to retrieve it.