The dangers of distracted driving are numerous. In fact, distracted driving is an epidemic in the U.S. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving killed 3,166 people in 2017. In 2017, texting, rather than alcohol, was the leading cause of injury and/or death for teens behind the wheel.
And it’s no small wonder that there are so many injuries and fatalities on the road. During the daylight hours across America, approximately 481,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving.
So, if texting is so dangerous, why do people do it?
In 2014, AT&T conducted a survey to answer this question. The survey revealed a discrepancy between people’s attitudes and behaviors. While most understood that texting while driving was a problem, a fair percentage of members admitted to texting behind the wheel, anyway.
The study found three main reasons that people drive and text. 43% of texting drivers said they wanted to stay connected to friends and family. 28% said that they were worried about missing out on something important if the phone was not checked. More than a quarter stated that their driving performance was not affected by texting. For more in depth information about the study conducted by AT&T, visit CBS’s article here.
How can injury be prevented? Phone companies like AT&T have developed apps that silence text message alerts when a car is moving more than 15 mph. These apps are free to the public.
State legislatures are also more aggressive in developing laws that address the dangers of distracted driving. As of 2018, 16 states and the District of Columbia ban drivers from hand-held device use. 38 states and D.C. ban all cell phone use by novice drivers, and 47 states and D.C. ban texting while driving. For more information on distracted driving statistics, visit the FCC page.
In Pennsylvania, a driver who is caught texting behind the wheel is given a summary offense and a $50.00 fine, plus court costs and other fees. For more information on the law and penalties, visit PennDOT’s Distracted Driving page.
If you are a person who falls into any of these three categories mentioned in the study, texting behind the wheel is not worth the injury or loss of life. Texting prevents you from reacting quickly to changes in road conditions or traffic patterns around you. Make it a policy to answer texts only when you are pulled off the road and not in motion. Other drivers around you will thank you!
If you have been hurt in an accident involving distracted driving, Graham & Mauer, P.C. is here to protect your rights. Give us a call at 610-933-3333 or 800-218-0808 to speak with an attorney.