Texting is one of the most dangerous types of distracted driving because it’s a combination of cognitive, visual, and manual distraction. Let’s take a look at the question, ‘Why is texting while driving so dangerous?’
When drivers decide to pull out their cell phones and text, this action endangers and injures thousands of people daily. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that over 1,000 people are killed in distracted driving accidents and nine people are killed in distracted driving-related accidents in the U.S.
Table of Contents
Why is Talking on the Phone While Driving is Dangerous?
Did you know that 94 percent of car accidents are caused by driver error, as opposed to other factors, such as adverse weather? Each year thousands of people are killed in the United States by car crashes caused by cell phones, and this includes hands-free devices.
The reason talking on the cellphone while driving is so dangerous is because our brains can’t give 100% of our attention to multiple tasks. That means when you’re driving and talking on your phone, you’re dividing your attention between two tasks. If you add drinking coffee, kids screaming, and/or eating a meal to the equation, you continue to split your attention between more tasks, making it extremely difficult to focus on the task of driving.
How Many Have Died from Texting While Driving?
Although it’s not all that obvious, today, we live in a nation where owning hand-held devices, such as smartphones, has become deadly. Many of us are addicted to texting and driving, and the sad thing is that this problem is escalating. Based on data from the U.S. Department of Transportation:
- In 2018 alone, 2,841 people died in car accidents linked to distracted driving.
- In 2018, 385 people were killed in car accidents linked to texting while driving.
- 1.6 million accidents occur each year because of drivers using their cellphones while driving.
- Nearly 14% of all fatal crashes involve cell phone use.
- Every year texting and driving accounts for about 390,000 car accident injuries.
- In 2019, distracted driving accounted for 8.5% of all fatal accidents.
- In the United States, 1 out of 4 car accidents are caused by texting and driving.
- In 2018, 202 teenagers ages 15 to 19 died because of texting and driving.
What are the 4 Types of Driving Distractions?
Distracted driving is a significant hazard on the roads around Illinois and throughout the United States. Distracted drivers cause many crashes every year. There are four major types of driver distractions, which include:
- Visual distractions. These include actions that take a driver’s eyes off the road, such as looking at the GPS, watching something that’s happening on the side of the road, changing the radio station, looking at other passengers, or reading a text message.
- Auditory distractions. This type of distraction relates to sound. Drivers could be distracted if there’s a passenger in the car who is talking loudly. Also, loud music could be an auditory distraction. Loud noises could also come from outside the car. Often, drivers look to see what is causing the noise, and this takes their attention off the road.
- Manual distractions. Manual distractions include any actions that cause a driver to take one or both hands off the steering wheel. These actions may include drinking coffee, grabbing something you dropped or adjusting the A/C. Drivers who aren’t holding onto the steering wheel could swerve accidentally across a lane of traffic. Plus, they may lose control of their vehicle if the road conditions are poor.
- Cognitive distractions. A cognitive distraction makes the driver take his or her mind off of the road. Drivers may also be distracted by thoughts about what they’re planning to do or they may be daydreaming. Also, drivers may get into an argument or a discussion that takes their minds away from driving.
If you suffered injuries in an accident because of a distracted driver, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact Chicago Traffic Lawyers today, to speak with an experienced traffic attorney for a free case review.
Who is Most at Risk for Distracted Driving?
Teen and young adult drivers are the most at risk for distracted driving.
In the United States in 2018:
- 25% of the distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes were young adults aged 20 to 29.
- Teenage drivers aged between 15 and 19 were more likely to be distracted than drivers aged 20 and older, among distracted drivers where someone died. Among those distracted drivers, 8% of teen drivers aged 15 to 19 were distracted at the time of the car crash.
- 9% of all teens who died in car crashes were in involved distracted driving accidents.
Reasons You Should Not Text While Driving
Distracted driving is a major public health problem in the United States. Here are four reasons not to text while driving from our experienced traffic lawyers.
- Distracted driving crashes kill innocent people. One of the major reasons you shouldn’t text and drive is that this behavior often kills people. Distracted driving kills, and we all should take steps to avoid harming others, and not texting while driving is a simple behavior proven to save lives.
- Texting while driving is more dangerous than impaired driving. A study by the Transport Research Laboratory reports that texting slows drivers’ baseline reaction time more than alcohol and cannabis. Most drivers are aware of the risks of drunk driving and they take steps to avoid it by designating a sober driver or using rideshare services, such as Uber and Lyft. Thus, if drivers are ready to put this much effort into avoiding the risks of drunk driving, they should put more effort into avoiding texting while driving. Avoid the temptation of checking your text messages by putting your phone in the backseat or trunk. Plus, use the “do not disturb while driving” feature to let your friends and family know that you’re not available when you’re behind the wheel.
- State laws won’t stop the consequences of texting and driving fatalities. The Federal Communications Commission reports that 21 states banned the use of handheld devices while driving. Illinois’ distracted driving law prohibits all drivers from reading, sending, or receiving text messages and browsing the internet while driving. Illinois law also prohibits drivers from using handheld electronic devices while driving. Further, drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using any cell phone, and even hands-free options.
- Your texts can and will be used against you in a court of law. If you’re involved in a motor vehicle accident, the first thing the prosecutor or the plaintiff’s attorney will do is subpoena your cell phone records. Your mobile phone records will show if you were sending or receiving phone calls or text messages minutes before the accident. Your phone number, private messages, and account information may become public records if introduced in a lawsuit. The lack of privacy is one more consequence of distracted driving that you should avoid.
Contact Our Experienced Illinois Car Accident Lawyers Today for Legal Advice!
A distracted driver must be held accountable for the bodily injuries they cause. By filing a personal injury claim, you protect your legal right to compensation for your damages and also discourage other drivers from texting while driving, which can save lives. At Chicago Traffic Lawyers, our team of experienced car accident attorneys will fight fiercely to make sure you receive maximum compensation for all your injuries and losses, past and future.
To schedule a free initial consultation, call us today at (708) 465-1040, or chat with us online to learn how we can help.