How many accidents are caused by texting and driving?
Imagine you are cruising on the highway with your fingers tapping a text message on your mobile phone’s screen. All of a sudden, your brain is still arranging for the appropriate emoji, and a brake light appears ahead of you.
What next? Yes, an accident has occured.
A 2023 study by the Pew Research Center paints a clear picture: studies indicate that almost half of drivers text while driving. Now, the consequences can be very devastating. Now you must be wondering, how many accidents are caused by texting and driving? Well, there are a lot of factors that impact that.
Statistics on Accidents Caused by Texting and Driving
According to the best auto accident lawyer in Houston Tx, there are no means that can be used in order to find out the exact number of people who get into accidents while texting.
But here are the statistics presented by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
When it comes to the total number of accidents occurring, the NHTSA noted that a driver’s chance of getting into an accident due to texting increased to about 23 times the rate of that occurring without any distractions.
Furthermore, the NHTSA further discloses that thousands of deaths every year occur due to distracted driving, with cell phone usage being one of its key contributors.
Studies show that the most common distraction for teen drivers is texting. According to the CDC, the rate at which high school students text or email while driving is very high.
Trends in Texting-Related Accidents
- Rising Incidences: Increased awareness and stricter laws have not succeeded in restraining the number of texting-related accidents, which have been increasing in recent years, implying the growing attachment to mobile devices.
- Underreporting of Issues: While experts agree on this, there are cases in which it is difficult to prove that a person was using a phone when they had an accident.
- Impact on Insurance Rates: Auto insurance rates have also increased due to the high risk of accidents arising from texting while driving.
- International Statistics: It is not only an American problem, but it is worldwide. Several global research indicates similar trends of increasing road accidents and fatalities associated with texting while driving.
- Cultural and Regulatory Differences: There are variations in rates of occurrence and consequences for texting-associated accidents that depend on the attitude towards mobile phone use and the strictness of enforced distracted drivers’ regulations in each country.
Texting vs Other Forms of Distractions
Texting is one of the most hazardous aspects of distracted driving which involves many other activities that take away attention from the road. Understanding various degrees of danger and ways of prevention requires comparing the influence of texting while driving with other distractions.
High Level of Distraction: Texting is the most dangerous form of distracted driving because it has manual, visual, and cognitive distractions. It demands that drivers divert their attention from driving, take their hands off the steering wheel, and take their eyes off the road.
Accident Risk: Several studies, such as those by the NHTSA, show that texting while driving leads to high crash risks compared to many other types of distractions.
Other Forms of Distracted Driving
Use of GPS: There is both visual and manual distraction involved when a person is trying to work on the GPS while they are driving.
However, it should not be forgotten that GPS devices help immensely with safe driving as they keep notifying of the risks through voice help. This is only possible if you use the GPS with care and by being responsible.
Using Multimedia: Such a distraction usually lasts for a short period and only causes minimal cognitive dissonance. However, it becomes more dangerous if it occupies the driver‘s visual attention, which can cause serious accidents.
Eating and Drinking: Eating and drinking while you drive can be a very big distraction however, it does not involve much cognitive distraction like that caused by texting.
Eating or drinking may seem less risky, resulting in serious injuries, particularly in difficult driving conditions.
It is more dangerous than texting because it distracts the driver for a longer period of time. If seen closely, turning off the music or making up snacks are usually short interruptions.
Also, unlike dialing a mobile phone, texting takes more cognitive involvement, which significantly compromises driving performance. However, other distractions can be dangerous, but they tend not to engage the driver’s cognitive functions as much.
There are different laws against texting while driving that highlight the risks that come with it. However, the regulations can be somewhat lenient for other distractions that can cause accidents.
Legal Consequences of Texting While Driving
Texting and driving have legal implications, given their potential complexities. The growing awareness of the implications of distracted driving in many places means that special rules and punishments against texting while driving are being implemented in a number of states.
Ban on Texting: Many states, as well as some countries, have laws specifically prohibiting texting behind the wheel. In most cases, such laws do not allow texting or browsing the internet using handheld devices when driving.
Primary vs. Secondary Enforcement: Police in primary enforcement areas may issue citations against drivers who text without stopping the vehicle. Officers in areas with secondary enforcement needs to have another basis for stopping the vehicle, like speeding, to issue a citation for texting.
Fines and Charges: A ticket or a fine is the normal punishment for texting while driving. It varies a lot according to the jurisdiction, but it is higher for offenses that are repeated.
Points on Driver’s License: Many states also penalize offenders by adding points to their driving licenses. However, accumulating points in the end can be quite expensive since it can raise insurance costs and even suspend one’s driver’s license.
Charges for Crime: In a number of cases where texting leads to accidents, especially the ones that cause serious injuries or deaths, there can be serious criminal charges that can include vehicular manslaughter.
The best lawyers at Mokaram Law Firm can help you deal with such complex cases and can help you get the best out of a case possible.
Technological Measures to Tackle the Challenges
With more people driving while texting and the increasing number of accidents associated with this, various technological measures have been found as ways of preventing this dangerous behavior. There are many of them, with each one reducing the temptation or possibility of texting while driving.
Safe Driving Apps: There are certain applications that motivate people to drive safely. These work by offering rewards to drivers who are very much addicted to using their phones while driving. These rewards can be in the form of getting points at different stores or exchanging goods.
Parental Control Apps: For teenagers, parental control apps help prevent their children from texting or calling while they are driving.
Safe Infotainment Systems: Some modern cars are built with safe driving modes in their infotainment system. The mode can block functionalities that lead to diversions, such as writing messages and browsing social media. Such systems make it possible for drivers to talk without removing their hands or looking apart from the driving.
Attention Monitoring Systems: Nowadays, there are even some car models that possess a safe driving mode integrated into their infotainment feature. This mode disables functions such as messaging, blogging, and social networks.
This provides the means through which drivers can converse without using a hand or taking their eyes off the road.
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