Texting And Driving Accidents
According to the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), there were 3,522 people killed in crashes that involved a distracted driver in 2021. Cell phones and other mobile devices remain the top distraction for drivers, accounting for roughly 8.2 percent of all traffic deaths. A 2023 OTS Public Opinion Survey indicated that nearly three-fourths of Californians surveyed felt that distracted driving was their number one safety concern for California roadways. Heiting & Irwin has recovered over $400 million in monetary damages for clients, including those involved in texting and driving accidents in California. Consider calling (951) 682-6400 for more information about how an experienced personal injury attorney may be able to help you after a distracted driver crash. You may also check out www.hilegalgroup.com
Why Does Texting and Driving Cause Accidents?
When drivers take their eyes off the road, they automatically increase their risk of having an accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), looking down at a phone to check a text, even for five seconds, while traveling 55 miles per hour is essentially the same as driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed! In addition, it takes about three seconds for drivers to move their attention from their phone back to the road.
Safe driving requires a driver’s full attention. Distraction from a mobile device diverts a driver’s attention away from the road, making it more likely that the driver will miss changes in traffic patterns, developing dangerous situations, or conditions that require immediate attention and reaction.
Many people are very attached to their phones. Some studies report that college students, on average, check their phones about 28 times per day, and they become uneasy or anxious when they know a notification that they have not yet checked is waiting for them. To address that anxiety, a driver will often check notifications or texts while behind the wheel, even while knowing it is unsafe. This “separation anxiety” certainly is not exclusive to college students and can affect anyone who regularly uses a smartphone throughout the day; but it is extremely dangerous.
Why Is Texting and Driving So Dangerous?
In general, there are three types of distractions that can affect drivers. Texting while driving falls into each of the three categories, which are:
- Visual: Any time a driver takes his or her eyes away from the road, the driver becomes visually distracted. Visual distraction decreases a driver’s awareness and slows reaction time.
- Manual: When a driver removes his or her hands from the steering wheel, the driver becomes physically (or manually) distracted. Moving the driver’s hands back to the wheel to maneuver the vehicle can waste precious seconds needed to avoid an accident in an unsafe situation.
- Cognitive: Mental focus is a huge part of safe driving. Any time a driver takes his or her mental focus off the act of driving, the driver becomes mentally distracted. A lack of mental focus slows reaction time and essentially stops the scanning process that is required for a driver to be on the lookout for potentially dangerous situations.
Texting requires drivers to look at their phone, take their hands off the wheel to check notifications and focus on reading and even responding to a text. Because texting involves all three types of major distractions, it is especially dangerous and can cause even more severe accidents. Those who have been victims in texting and driving accidents should speak with an attorney to learn about their legal options. Heiting & Irwin is an excellent choice.
How Common Is Texting and Driving?
The habit of texting and driving is more common than many people think. As part of its research into this issue, the NHTSA studied how prevalent the use of cell phones while driving truly is and found these startling statistics as of 2018:
- Roughly 9.7 percent of drivers are using devices on the road at any daylight moment
- Approximately 15 percent of injury-causing crashes involved distracted driving
- The risk of a crash occurring increases by about 95 percent when a driver is reaching for or dialing a phone
And texting and driving accidents affect more than just other drivers and passengers. A 2019 Centers for Disease Control study reported that one in five people who were killed in a crash involving a distracted driver were not in a vehicle! These accident victims were walking or riding a bike near the distracted driver.
Get Help From a California Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Severe injuries, or even death, can arise from texting and driving accidents. If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, explore your legal options. Consider contacting the experienced motor vehicle accident attorneys in Riverside, California, personal injury attorney at Heiting & Irwin by calling (951) 682-6400 or visit their website at www.hilegalgroup.com