By Tim O’Hare
More than 15 people a day are killed in car accidents caused by a distracted driver, and more than 1,200 people a day are injured in a distracted driving accident.
Texting while driving is a leading cause of distracted driving accidents, and the number of accidents caused by a driver who was texting or using their phone while driving increases dramatically each year.
According to the AAA Traffic Safety Culture Index, 52% of people feel driving is less safe now than it was five years ago, and half of those cite distracted driving as the main reason they don’t feel safe driving. Although the use of hands free cell phones is becoming more popular, two in three drivers admit to talking on their hand-held cell phone while driving in the past month, and one in three say they do so regularly. One in four drivers admit to texting or emailing on their cell phones while driving.
A 2009 study found that individuals who text while driving spend 400% less time looking at the road compared to non-texting drivers. Other research has shown that the risk of crashing while text messaging and driving is more than double that of talking on the phone and driving.
While many states have outlawed the use of cell phones while driving, Texas has not. The current laws in Texas prohibit the use of hand-held devices in active school crossing zones, for intermediate license holders for the first 12 months and bus drivers when a passenger under 17 is present.
If these statistics aren’t convincing enough, take a few moments to watch this 10-minute documentary. The Last Text, released by AT&T as part of its “It Can Wait” campaign, shares the stories of real people whose lives have been tragically affected by texting and driving. Seeing the faces of individuals whose lives have been lost, and the text messages they were reading or typing when they crashed may be more powerful than any number of statistics.
Now is the perfect time for us to resolve that 2012 will be different.
Take a moment to consider your own driving habits. Be honest with yourself.
- Have you used your cell phone while driving in the last week?
- Have you sent or read a text message while driving in the last week?
- Have you checked or updated Facebook or Twitter while driving in the last week?
- Can you recall a “close call” that happened when you were distracted by your cell phone?
If you can honestly answer yes to any of these questions, the statistics in this article are for you. Please don’t consider yourself invincible. It may be only a matter of time before you are involved in an accident caused by text messaging. But you don’t have to be.
Make this your New Year’s Resolution: Commit to putting your cell phone down while driving and giving your undivided attention to the road and traffic around you.
If you have been seriously injured or lost a family member in an accident caused by distracted driving, contact The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare to speak with a Dallas personal injury attorney.