Texting While Driving More Dangerous Than People Realize
People who text behind the wheel might think that doing so only distracts them for a second or two. Studies show, however, that texting takes at least five seconds of focus away from the driver. If driving at 55 miles per hour, five seconds can cover 344 feet, or the length of an entire football field. This is a long time for someone to have their eyes off the road.
Even though most people admit that distracted driving increases their risk of having an accident, many continue to text behind the wheel. Distracted driving is a recognized safety epidemic. Data revealed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that texting while driving increases the chance of being in a wreck by 23 times. Distracted driving is a factor in nearly a quarter of all wrecks and 18 percent of fatal wrecks.
Dangerous Three Distractions
In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pointed out that texting while driving poses a particularly high risk because it distracts people in three different ways. First, it takes the driver’s attention away from the task at hand, which is cognitive distraction. Texting also requires the use of a hand and removing such from the wheel is manual distraction. Finally, when the driver looks at their phone, they are looking away from the road, which is visual distraction.
Other activities that distract drivers include eating, paying attention to a pet or passenger in the vehicle, and daydreaming. Out of these, texting seems to be the one that always distracts in these three ways.
Distracted Driving Safety Act
It has been about 15 years since DC enacted the Distracted Driving Safety Act. This law prohibits drivers from using cell phones and electronic devices while driving in the District, unless using a hands-free device. If the driver has a learner’s permit or is a school bus driver, they may not use these devices at all when driving unless there is an emergency. The fine for breaking this law is $100, and there are no points added onto the person’s driving record.
Other states have passed similar laws, and some apps work with cell phones to make them hands-free. There have been nationwide campaigns like “U Drive. U Text. U Pay,” and driver’s license exams include questions about distracted driving for test takers. Still, millions of drivers continue to text and drive every day.
Breaking the Habit
Before cell phones were invented, nobody was able to text and drive. It has become a habit that is easy to pick up, and one that can be addictive. Unless there is a true emergency, the text can wait until later. A simple solution is starting a new habit of putting the phone on “do not disturb” when getting into the car. Some phones have this as a default option, and it is a very useful one. After doing this for a few days, it is very possible to break this dangerous habit – for good.
Contact an Experienced DC Car Accident Lawyer at the Law Offices of Duane O. King for Effective Legal Guidance with Any Type of Car Accident
If you have been seriously injured in a distracted driving car accident and have questions about your case, contact a DC car accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 202-331-1963 or complete an online contact form. Our office is located in Washington, DC, where we represent clients throughout DC and Maryland.