Everyone knows that texting while driving is distracting, but most people don’t understand just how distracting and dangerous it really is. From the way so many people glance at their phones whenever they are behind the wheel, this much is obvious. But why is texting while driving such a potent driver distraction? It might be since texting and driving combines three forms of driver distractions into one.
Three Distractions Formed into One
When a driver is distracted in any way, the chances of safely and responsibly steering their vehicle plummets. It is a simple truth that driving safely is a task that requires a driver’s full attention. When introducing texting into the mix, safe driving is completely set aside since texting and cellphone use combines three forms of distraction into one extremely dangerous form.
The three types of driver distraction as defined by multiple safety groups are:
- Visual: When a driver takes their eyes off the road ahead and mirrors, they are visually distracted. Roadside billboards are a common form of visual distraction.
- Manual: When a driver takes their hands off the steering wheel, they are manually distracted. Other than cellphones, eating food is a common example of manual distraction.
- Cognitive: When a driver takes their mind off the task of driving, they are cognitively distracted. Talking to passengers in the car is a common way drivers become cognitively distracted, even if they don’t realize it.
Cognitive distractions are even more dangerous than they first seem since they linger. The National Safety Council estimates cognitive distractions last for at least 30 seconds after the initial distraction ends. For example, if a driver talks to one of their passengers, then they will be thinking about what was said for at least half a minute after the conversation ends.
When using a cellphone to text or check a message, all three of these forms of distractions are combined. Picking up the smartphone or cellphone is a manual distraction, looking at it to read the message is a visual distraction, and thinking about how to respond is a cognitive distraction. All three distraction types compound with one another, meaning they are more than three-times as distracting. The chances of causing a car accident will go up similarly.
The Prevalence of Texting & Driving Dangers
How many texting drivers are there on the road at any given time? The number is extremely difficult to focus on, say safety groups like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the National Safety Council (NSC). The problem of finding out how many drivers are texting behind the wheel is honesty, or a lack thereof.
When sending out surveys about how often people text while driving, the reported percentages are always surprisingly low, sometimes as low as 2.9%. Just looking around while stopped at a red light, you are likely to see far more than 3% of the drivers there on their cellphones. It is assumed people are likely to underplay how often they text while driving when completing such a survey out of a sense of guilt or embarrassment.
What data do these safety groups have on texting and driving distractions?
- 3,166 Americans were killed due to distracted driving in 2017.
- Almost 10% of distracted driving fatalities involved a teenage driver.
- 20% of teenage drivers think texting is not a distraction.
- 30% of young adult drivers think texting is not a distraction.
- Texting drivers are 400% more likely to get into a crash than an undistracted driver.
- 25% of car accidents may involve a driver using a cellphone, estimates the NSC.
- Motor vehicle accidents are the #1 cause of work-related or workplace death.
Hit by a Texting Driver? Take Action!
Attorney Todd Miner has stood by the side of wrongfully injured drivers for decades. In recent years, his law firm, Todd Miner Law, has seen an increase of claims filed by people who were hit by drivers with cellphones in their hands. If you have been injured in a similar circumstance, come to his law firm. Using his extensive experience with distracted driving cases, he can pursue fair and maximized compensation on your behalf, just like you deserve.
Call (407) 269-5877 for more information about your rights, or to schedule a free consultation.