Car Accidents Caused by Texting
Texting has become a leading reason for car accidents. This is not surprising since it simultaneously takes the driver’s eyes, hands, and concentration off the road. Because of this, most states ban the use of cell phones while driving, including talking, emailing or texting. Yet, texting causes roughly 1.6 million traffic crashes and close to 400,000 injuries annually. Teens are more apt to text while driving, and in a recent poll, about 40 percent admitted they have been in a vehicle where the driver was actively texting. Let’s examine why texting is dangerous and the implications of being in an accident with a texting driver.
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Incidence of Texting in Distracted Driving
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 78 percent of all distracted drivers are texting when they are injured. The remainder are eating, using the GPS, adjusting the radio or talking to passengers in the vehicle. This makes it the leading form of distraction to cause injury. Texting is even more lethal than drunk driving.
Why Is Texting Lethal?
Texting incorporates all of the following elements seen in distracted driving accidents:
- Cognitive: This involves what the driver is thinking about while driving. Clearly, their thoughts should be centered on driving. If a driver is thinking about the text they just read or about their response, these thoughts interfere with driving and safety.
- Visual: While driving, a driver’s gaze should be on the road. If it is on their cell phone, the likelihood of an accident is greater.
- Manual: A driver’s hands need to be on the wheel. If they release their grip on the wheel as they text, their ability to make quick adjustments in a timely manner will be lost.
Elements of an Accident While Texting
Let’s use an example to understand how a texting accident occurs. A vehicle has stalled 130 yards ahead due to a mechanical issue. The distracted driver’s car is heading straight for the stalled vehicle, and its driver is reading a text message. It requires five seconds for the driver to travel 120 yards or read a text message. If they do both, the risk is high they will crash into a vehicle stalled on the road 130 yards ahead. In this scenario, it will take three seconds for the crash to occur.
Another scenario is one where a driver sees another vehicle about to enter their lane illegally and cause a sideswipe collision. If they are texting at this time, they will not see the vehicle coming and will not swerve out of the way.
Obtaining Proof That the Negligent Driver Was Texting
After a crash occurs, it is necessary to prove that texting was involved. Your attorney will be able to subpoena the driver’s cell phone records from their carrier. By doing this, the investigator can link the time of the accident to the calls or texts that happened at that time. The texting driver will be identified as negligent.
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