There are over 1.6 million crashes caused by distracted drivers using their cell phones in the United States every year. “Texting and Driving” is one of the most dangerous forms of Distracted Driving. When a driver is paying attention to their phone’s text messages, emails, apps, maps, music, and more, he is sacrificing his ability to focus on the road.
The average time it takes to check a text is 5 seconds, and while traveling at highway speeds of 55mph, that means a driver has traveled an entire football field’s distance with his eyes off the road. If this isn’t illuminating enough of the danger, just ask the experts. Former Dallas Cowboys player Michael Irvin recently joined attorney Ryan Thompson to discuss the dangers of distracted driving. Three seconds of distraction at that same 55mph speed is all the time it takes for a crash to happen, so just one text can cause a devastating crash.
Drivers in Denial
Of drivers polled in 2016, over 80% thought that texting and driving was a worsening problem over the prior 3 years. These majority opinion holders were absolutely right, as demonstrated by Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reported statistics. In the ten years from 2007 to 2017 in Texas, the number of crashes and their related fatalities and injuries consistently increased in nearly every single category, culminating in the highest cell-phone use fatality rate yet seen in the state. September 2017 saw the introduction of legislation that changed this trend, prohibiting texting while driving state-wide, and making the practice a primary offense. This primary status allows police officers to stop and ticket drivers specifically for texting while driving. Unsurprisingly, the 2018 reported numbers dropped noticeably – with about half as many accidents and 15% fewer fatalities related to distracted driving. Despite curbing these numbers, there was still an average of over 11 cell-phone-use-related accidents per day in Texas in 2018.
While many of us are guilty of using cell phones while we drive, we are even more apt to criticize others participating in this dangerous behavior. 31% of drivers report no difference in their own driving when they text. These individuals are sadly mistaken because the data proves that there are vast changes in the statistical probability of accident, injury, and fatality when a driver is using a cellphone while at the wheel. 86% of respondents in the same survey said they would feel unsafe as a passenger if their driver was sending texts or emails while driving.
Texting and Driving Resources
April may be Distracted Driving Awareness Month, but we all need to be diligent year-round to combat the dangers created by those texting and driving. Don’t pick up your phone while you are on the road and remain alert to drivers around you who are taking this risk. It can literally mean the difference between life and death.
If you or a loved one has suffered a texting and driving–related crash, know that you have a caring and skilled team at Thompson Law ready and willing to take your case. Ryan “the Lion” Thompson and his legal team have vast experience representing people harmed in these devastating accidents, and they are driven to deliver justice to the victims of these terrible crashes.
Texting and Driving Crashes and Fatalities
- One of the worst texting and driving accidents in US history occurred in Texas. A man distracted by his incoming and outgoing messages while driving his pickup truck crossed the center line, striking a small bus and killing 13 of the passengers on board.
- The most dangerous Texas counties for texting and driving are Bexar, Wichita, Ellis, Galveston, and Hays counties. One of these counties is in our own backyard right here in DFW, but with the vast network of highways and the amount of intrastate trucking that Texas has, none of these danger zones feel far away.
- Of the 401 cell phone–related fatal crashes that occurred in 2017:
- 37% were caused by drivers 20-29 years old
- 21% were caused by drivers 30-39 years old
- 16% were caused by drivers 15-19 years old.
- In 2017, 3,166 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. 599 of them were non-occupants, meaning bystanders like pedestrians, bicyclists, scooter riders and more.
- Teen drivers tend to attract a lot of the focus in studies and public discourse about texting and driving, but the trend is rampant in most age groups, especially up to about age 44. In some cases, the older adult generations are actually behaving far worse than the teens. 77% of adults think that they can easily manage to text while driving, while only 55% of teens answered this way. All this really means is that 77% of adults and 55% of teens are wrong – but the disparity is also significant in dispelling the wider cultural narrative that phone use while driving is strictly a young person’s issue.
- Texting and driving statistics are frequently compared with drinking and driving accidents. The increase in texting–related crashes and the decline in alcohol–related crashes are leading some to draw the conclusion that texting is more dangerous than drinking and driving. While you are 23 times more likely to crash your car while texting than not, and this statistic is 6 times greater than the likelihood of crashing after drinking, the relationship between these stats does not imply that drinking and driving is safer than texting and driving. Drunk driving is still responsible for far more fatal crashes each year than texting and driving. It is disingenuous to rank either of these behaviors as relatively safer than the other. Distracted Driving and Drunk Driving both severely increase the risk of tragedy on our roads.
Texting and Driving Accident Fines, Penalties, and Consequences
- Ticketing – Texting and driving is illegal in 48 states, as well as Washington DC, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands. Individual states and territories have their own degrees of severity in cellphone restrictions and related punitive consequences. Ticketing practices in each state are subject to whether the laws designate cellphone use as subject to primary or secondary enforcement.
- In Texas, ticketing can be between $25 and $99, and repeat offenders may receive a fine up to $200.
- The highest fines in the US are in Alaska, where texting behind the wheel can garner a $10,000 fine.
- The lowest fines are in California, where the offense will only be ticketed at $20.
- Jail Time – Texting while driving can have even more serious penalties than fines. In Texas, the act is a misdemeanor. If the texting and driving event led to bodily injury to another driver, the negligent party may face jail time.
- Insurance Consequences – On top of citation fees, a texting and driving violation or accident can have a serious impact on your car insurance premium. As insurance companies have become more knowledgeable of the risks posed by texting and driving in recent years, they have tied rate raises to these offenses accordingly. This article illustrates the increase you can expect to see in your premiums after a texting and driving incident.
- Be a good example and make a commitment to yourself and to your loved ones. Drive safely and refuse to use your phone on the road. You never know who you may be influencing – or protecting.
- Talk to new drivers about the dangers of texting and driving and the serious consequences. Statistically speaking, younger drivers do run higher risks of car crash and injury stemming from cellphone use. Communicating your concern and knowledge on the subject can go a long way in showing new drivers the value of making safe decisions on the road.
- If you know you have a bad habit of using your cell while driving, take some steps to adjust your routine.
- Make a rule that you have to queue up your music and maps and send any texts to the friends you are meeting before you start the ignition.
- Try setting an alarm to head out the door five minutes earlier than you normally would. The extra few minutes can be a treat to yourself to pick a good podcast or send an extra message before you hit the road.
- If you know your friends or family are driving, don’t text them. Your behavior may influence them to do the same in return for you.
- Utilize the do not disturb settings on your phone. Many smartphones have features that can sense when you are driving and automatically ignore notifications for you.
Need an Expert Texting and Driving Accident Attorney?
There are many reasons that people give for texting and driving, the most common being: the message is important, it’s a work-related message, or it’s only a short reply that is needed. However, no matter how crucial the message feels, a text is never more important than protecting human lives and staying safe on the road. If you have been hurt or lost a loved one because another driver made a critical error in judgment and texted while driving, you deserve help and you deserve justice for your suffering.
Reach out to Thompson Law anytime 24/7/365. Our legal experts are standing by to take your call. After a frightening and tragic distracted driving wreck, the last thing you need is to fight the insurance companies at-fault parties alone. Contact Lion Law right away for help and guidance with your texting and driving accident case. The 4’s can help – just dial 214-444-4444.