Understanding the Risk of Texting and Driving
Have you ever wondered what the big deal is about texting and driving? If so, you're not alone. Many drivers text and drive with what they perceive as no problem. Some people feel like it's not a big issue since they've never caused an accident while texting. Those who've damaged their car, another person's car, or caused bodily injury, have a different perspective. Certainly, anyone who's been hurt by a distracted driver thinks about things from an entirely different viewpoint. Let's look at the true risks of texting and driving. Once you learn more, we're sure you'll make sure you put your phone down while driving down the road.
Texting and Driving Is Illegal
Currently, there are no national laws preventing texting and driving. At the state level, however, many states have laws in place that make texting while operating a motor vehicle illegal. Only Montana drivers currently have no restrictions on texting and driving. Arizona passed a law this year banning handheld cell phone use while driving and drivers will begin receiving tickets on January 1, 2021. For the rest of the country, each state has their own laws and consequences if you're caught. In some states, violators may only receive a citation. Others issue fines or points on your driver's license. For repeat offenders, some states will revoke a driver's license.
Texting Puts Passengers at Risk
One thing many drivers don't consider when they text while driving is their passengers. When you get behind the wheel, you accept the responsibility for the safety of each passenger in your vehicle. That means you focus on the road and getting your passengers to their destination without any mishaps. While most people understand that accidents sometimes happen, putting your phone away while driving is the best thing you can do to ensure you don't cause an accident. Remember, passengers in your car have a right to sue you if they suffer an injury because you were negligent.
Motorist and Pedestrian Safety
Even if you don't carry passengers in your car, when you're distracted by texting, you put other motorists at risk. If you're involved in an accident and found to be at fault, the other driver and their passengers can sue you for damages. They can sue for damages caused by the accident and any aggravation caused by the accident to pre-existing injuries. What about the innocent person walking down the street? When you focus on your cell phone, you lose some ability to see things in your peripheral vision. You may eventually notice a car, but humans are smaller and not as noticeable as a vehicle. Not being able to focus on your surroundings means you risk the safety of pedestrians as well as other drivers.
High Risk of Causing an Accident
In a 2009 study, Car and Driver magazine found that reading or sending text messages while driving delays reaction times as much or more than someone driving under the legal limit of alcohol. Yes, this is an older study, but texting and driving hasn't evolved into a safe activity over the last 10 years. It's likely with the increase in the number of people using cell phones that the rate of driving and texting has also increased. Why participate in something that has proven to be debilitating to your ability to react to potential driving hazards? It's not worth it to put yourself in the position where you're more likely to have a car accident.
For the safety of yourself, other drivers and passengers, and pedestrians your text can wait until you reach your destination.