If you ask most drivers what they believe the most dangerous behavior is behind the wheel, the likely answer would be drunk driving. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and other public safety groups have done a tremendous job in stigmatizing drunk driving behavior and in making people aware of just how risky it is to operate a vehicle while impaired. Now, however, evidence indicates that drunk driving is not the biggest threat to driver safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has concluded that texting and driving is actually six times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated.
Texting while driving accident lawyers in Missouri know that the majority of drivers acknowledge the dangers associated with texting behind the wheel, and that this practice is banned or limited in almost all 50 states. However, drivers also believe that they are going to be safe when they text and drive, even though they know that the behavior is risky. This helps to explain why, as Distraction.gov reports, 660,000 drivers at any given daylight moment are using a handheld device as they drive.
Dangers of Texting and Driving
Forbes reported on the NHTSA data about texting being more dangerous than driving drunk, and also provided some additional frightening statistics about the consequences that texting drivers cause to innocent victims.
According to Forbes:
- Texting causes 25 percent of total accidents per year, with the National Safety Council citing 1.6 million crashes.
- Texting injures 330,000 people every single year.
- A total of 47 percent of adults admit to texting as they drive.
A big part of the reason why so many people may continue to text even though they know they shouldn’t is because they have done so in the past and been safe. As the Huffington Post reports, distracted driving is something that pretty much everyone has engaged in at some point.
Drivers do this because each time they engage in the texting behavior, they become more confident that they are the exception to the rule and able to drive safely as the multiple incidents mount where no crash happens.
Unfortunately, of course, it only takes one time for a driver who has texted many times before to look away at the wrong time. A driver who is either reading a text or who is sending a text will look away from the road for around 4.6 seconds. At 55-miles-per-hour, the driver could travel the length of a football field as he is engaged in the process of texting and not looking at the road. A lot could happen during this drive time, like the motorist hitting a pedestrian, weaving into another lane, or hitting a car that has stopped short in front of him.
It is the lengthy time period that motorists are required to look away from the wheel that helps to explain why driving distracted is more dangerous than driving impaired. A study published in the Canadian Family Physician indicated that having a conversation on a cell phone had been found to reduce driver reaction time by 18 percent. Having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of the legal limit of .08 only slowed reaction time by 12 percent. Texting is generally considered even worse than talking on a cell phone and the risks of this behavior are unacceptable for any driver to take.
Texting while driving accident attorneys in Springfield, MO can help if you’ve been involved in a crash. Contact us toll-free at 1-800-887-4030.