Is anyone out there paying attention to the serious dangers of texting while driving? I mean, really paying attention. Because from where I sit as a lawyer who represents consumers and personal injury victims, it sure does not seem that way.
Members of our community are routinely risking injuries to others with this behavior. Below are some mind boggling statistics from the National Safety Council about texting while driving. If these statisitics do not change your behavior, then keep in mind that, for over a year now, texting while driving is illegal in Rhode Island.
Target 12 Investigators determined that Rhode Island drivers have been fined more than $11,000 since the ban became effective. I hope that number continues to increase. And if you still need a reason to stop texting and driving ... do it to avoid a costly lawsuit. If your texting causes injury to another, then you may be liable for damages, including punitive damages that may not be covered by your insurance or dischargeable in bankruptcy. Here are the statistics:
* About 50 percent of all drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 are texting while driving. More than one-third of drivers ages 24 and under are texting on the road. (Note: Because this information was given voluntarily, actual numbers are likely even higher.)
* For every 6 seconds of drive time, a driver sending or receiving a text message spends 4.6 of those seconds with their eyes off the road. This makes texting the most distracting of all cell phone related tasks.
* Talking on a cell phone while driving can make a driver’s reaction time as slow as that of a 70-year-old.
* An estimated 1.4 million crashes each year are caused by drivers using cell phones and a minimum of 200,000 additional crashes each year are caused by drivers who are texting.
* Each year, 21 percent of fatal car crashes involving teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 were the result of cell phone usage. This result has been expected to grow as much as 4 percent every year.
(Sources: Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and The Transportation Safety Group at the National Safety Council).
There was a time when driving without a seatbelt was routine. Now we know better. Technology has given us these wonderful cellular devices. We may not have known about these dangers when texting first became popular. Now we know better. Please, DRV Now, Txt L8R.