It is almost impossible to go anywhere and not seeing people engaged in texting and using their personal electronic devices. It is alarming, however, that motorists are texting and driving, which takes their attention from the road and increases the risk of motor vehicle accidents.
Cell phone use is related to 1.6 million accidents each year and is involved in one out of four auto crashes. Texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than drunk driving. Each day, 11 teenagers are killed in crashes involving texting and driving.
It takes one second for a crash to happen. On average, however, sending and receiving a text message diverts the driver’s eyes from the road for five seconds. This is equal to driving across the length of a football field at 55 miles per hour while blindfolded. Texting and driving distracts a driver’s attention by 400 percent.
This distraction multiplies the risk of a crash by 23 percent. It is even more alarming, however, that drivers do not recognize this danger. According to a poll, 77 percent of adults and 55 percent of teenage drivers assume that they can handle texting and driving while competently navigating the road.
Texting is a dangerous combination of all three types of distracted driving. First, it is a visual distraction because it takes the driver’s eyes away from the road. It is also manual distraction because, like other distractions, such as eating or changing the radio, texting removes at least one of the driver’s hands from the steering wheel. Finally, it is a cognitive distraction because it re-directs a driver’s concentration from driving. This is like focusing on a conversation while driving. Victims of accident caused by a negligent or distracted driver may be entitled to compensation for their losses.