You are driving down the road and the car in front of you is traveling very slow and is having a hard time staying in its lane. As you approach to pass, what do you notice? The driver is messing with his or her cell phone and you shake your head. At that moment, you are reminded just how distracted and dangerous a driver is with a cell phone.
How Dangerous is Texting and Driving? …
Consider the following information and statistics:
→ The National Safety Council estimates that approximately 1.6 million car crashes are caused each year by the use of a cell phone or texting.
→ 13 percent of drivers ages 18 to 20 in crashes admitted they were talking or texting on mobile devices.
→ Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded.
→ Because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction.
→ A quarter of teens respond to a text message once or more every time they drive. 20 percent of teens and 10 percent of parents admit that they have extended, multi-message text conversations while driving.
→ 55% of adult drivers do not think texting and driving is a problem.
→ 77% of young adult drivers feel they can text and drive safely.
→ The average time a person spends not looking at the road while texting is 4.6 seconds.
→ The average amount of time spent driving in the wrong lane when texting is 10 seconds.
→ A study released in the summer of 2009 by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) found that texting is the most dangerous distraction for drivers. The study showed that people who text while operating a motor vehicle have a 23 times greater risk of being in an accident. In comparison, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics show that drivers who drive while intoxicated have a four times greater risk of being in a motor vehicle accident. In other words, texting while driving is about 6 times more likely to result in an accident that is driving while intoxicated.
While most people should agree that texting and driving is obviously unsafe and dangerous, what is the law when it comes to texting and driving?
→ There are currently 43 states that ban text messaging for all drivers and in all but five of those states you can be cited by a police officer for texting and driving.
→ There are 12 states that have banned hand held phone use while driving in its entirety.
→ Arizona is one of a few states that has NOT banned texting and driving.
→ The only law in Arizona dealing with texting and driving is a law prohibiting all cell phone use for school bus drivers.
While texting is not expressly prohibited in Arizona, a distracted driver may still be punished if their texting causes an accident. In every case we have handled involving a distracted at-fault driver who was texting at the time of the collision, we have sought an award for punitive damages through the court. If a car accident case goes to trial, damages are the amount asked for as compensation for all the medical bills, pain, suffering, lost wages, and damaged property. Punitive damages go beyond the traditional compensation mentioned above and are damages or monies awarded by the court to punish the at-fault party or set an example or make a statement for others. Punitive damages are awarded where the person who caused the accident acted with an “evil mind” or a “conscious disregard” for the the safety of others. A person acts with an evil mind when: 1) their actions are motivated by an intent to cause harm, or; 2) when someone acts recklessly or carelessly without regard to the safety of others. While the law has not expressly banned texting, there can be little doubt that texting and driving is a careless act and a conscious disregarding of the safety of other drivers.
If you have been injured in a car accident as the result of someone texting and driving CALL for a FREE, NO OBLIGATION CONSULTATION.