Major Concerns With Texting and Driving

Texting and driving do not mix, and yet according to a University of Utah survey, more than half of people under 34-years-old admit to doing it. State traffic safety agencies have implemented aggressive marketing efforts to counter the problem, and for good reason. People who type on their phone while behind the wheel are eight times more likely to be involved in a crash. In fact, they are twice as likely to be involved in a crash compared to someone who is drunk, which is a staggering thought. That’s because it takes about five seconds to send a message to someone, and during that time, a motorist’s ability to react is severely impaired. At 55 mph, safety experts compare it to traveling the entire length of a football field while blindfolded. Anyone who has spent time in traffic knows that a lot can happen in 100 yards.

WHAT ARE SOME TEXTING AND DRIVING STATISTICS?

Distractions are a common factor in accidents involving younger motorists, and the numbers are grim. Every year, about 1.5 million crashes are caused, in part, by cell phone use. These crashes take 6,000 lives and cause another 500,000 injuries. It’s probably not a surprise to most people that teenagers are most often involved in these wrecks, and about 15 percent of teenagers admit to being in crashes caused by cell phone use. Of course, the actual number is likely quite a bit higher.

The aforementioned University of Utah study also determined that teenagers engaged in texting and driving have equivalent reaction times to 70-year-old drivers not using their phone. Cell phones have effectively added hundreds of thousands of motorists to the roads who, at times, are more dangerous than intoxicated drivers.

WHAT SHOULD A PERSON DO IF THEY ARE HURT BY SOMEONE TEXTING AND DRIVING?

Most states have at least some laws regarding cell phone use, and 39 states prohibit all motorists from typing on their phones in all cases. However, Texas is not one of those states. Texas only prohibits novice motorists from phone messaging, which means that nearly everyone over the age of 17 is legally allowed to send messages from their phone. However, this doesn’t remove civil liability from the equation.

Motorists using their phone are generally considered negligent in their duty of care to others on the road. In almost all cases, a motorist breaching their duty of care is, at least in part, liable for any damages. In most cases, the negligent motorist will be completely liable. However, it can be difficult to prove that the other motorist was on a phone at the time of an accident, and they aren’t likely to admit it. Police reports, witness testimony and photos taken at the accident site, though, will usually determine which motorist was acting recklessly at the time of the crash. An attorney will ensure this information is presented during settlement and trial, helping the victim attain the compensation they need to recover from an accident.