Distracted driving is a real problem in America. In 2015 alone, 3,477 people died due to distracted driving.
Will “SMH” be your last words?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,
“Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo entertainment or navigation system – anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.”
Do you think the 5 seconds you may take to quickly read a text makes a difference? If put another way, would you be concerned about driving the length of a football field without looking at the road? At 55mph, this is exactly what will happen.
In addition, to the 3,477 people who died in 2015, 391,000 people were injured due to driving when distracted. Teenagers were the largest group of those that suffered fatal injuries.
How can you help to stop distracted driving?
Lead by example. Don’t answer texts while driving. Don’t eat or drink while driving and if someone calls, be sure to use your cars hand-free calling system. Also, talk to your children about the risks and make them pledge to not drive when distracted.
Teens are the best messengers when it comes to other peers. Encourage your children to speak up about distracted driving to their friends and help them by providing basic information and statistics that explain the risks induced by distracted driving.
So besides the facts previously mentioned, educate others by explaining that texting while driving leads to a 23 times higher risk of crashing compared to driving when not distracted. Yet, 37% of people admit that at some point they have texted while driving and 18% admit to texting while driving on a regular basis.
In Texas, 1 in 5 crashes are now caused by distracted driving. To combat such alarming statistics, Texas has implemented a campaign called “Talk, Text, Crash”. The campaign is meant to get Texans to put away their phones while driving by educating the public about this real danger. In 2016, distracted driving wrecks increased 3% from 2015 and 109,658 crashes in Texas were a result of distracted driving.
If you are between the ages of 16-34, you have much higher chance of being in a crash involving distracted driving. And not just because you are the driver, but also because you may be a passenger. This is a very good reason to be very upfront and firm with a driver about not texting and driving. One thing you can do as a passenger is to help the driver with the radio, answer their texts or do any other task that could distract the driver. Also, please see my previous blog about the possible criminal charges you may face if you have an accident while texting, including a possible felony charge!
Txdot.gov has great resources about their Talk, Text, Crash campaign including videos, photographs and other information that would be useful to warn people not to drive while distracted. I am attaching two informational articles, in English and in Spanish that explains the risks of distracted driving in more detail. The first one will provide you with the information you need to help you convince someone not to drive while distracted. The second article lists several apps that you can use to restrict or stop texts while the car is moving. Besides using these apps for ourselves, these apps will be good to protect your children by placing them on their cell phones.
Were you injured by a distracted driver? Click here to find more information about what you should do and how to get help from an attorney today!