texting while driving

How did you celebrate Distracted Driving Month in April? Did you install an app that disables your cell phone while your car is in motion? Did you put your phone on silent or toss it in the back seat to avoid temptation?

These suggestions are from the National Safety Council, which is dead serious about spreading the grim facts on distracted driving with its #CallsKill campaign. While many of us would not think of getting behind the wheel of a car while inebriated, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics indicate that “Each day in the United States, more than nine people are killed and more than 1,153 people are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.”

What Defines Distracted Driving?

According to the CDC, performing any activity that:

  • takes your eyes off the road (visual),
  • takes your hands off the wheel (manual), or
  • takes your mind off of driving (cognitive)

constitutes as distracted driving.

Texting Is a Triple Threat

Because text messaging requires visual, manual and cognitive attention, it is the most dangerous form of distraction while driving. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Distraction website, taking your eyes off the road for just the five seconds required to send a text message while traveling at 55 mph is the equivalent of covering the length of a football field blindfolded!

Cell Phone Calls Kill

The National Safety Council estimates that people talking on cell phones while driving are involved in 21 percent of the car crashes in the United States and one out of every three of us admits to doing it regularly! Despite the myth, hands-free phones are not a solution. The danger lies not in what you are doing with your hands, but in what you are doing with your brain.

The parietal lobe of the brain processes the movement of visual images. This function decreases by 37 percent when listening to language. Drivers listening to speech on a handheld or hands-free phone can miss up to 50 percent of the pedestrians, animals, red lights and other vehicles in their environment due to “inattention blindness.”

According to Distraction.gov, “10 percent of drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.”

Absence of Data Is Not Proof of Safety

A University of Utah study showed that drivers using cell phones reacted more slowly than those with a .08 blood alcohol level. But unlike quantifiable methods for assessing blood alcohol levels at the scene of an automobile accident, there is no direct method of proof that a driver talking on a cell phone was the cause of an accident. This makes researchers believe that the statistics are extremely low because distracted driving is hard to prove without eyewitnesses or self-reported confessions.

If you’ve been injured as result of another’s negligence and need a team of compassionate and experienced law professionals on your side, please contact Campbell & Associates, so we can help.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons