According to the National Safety Council, it is estimated that 1.6 million accidents could be avoided every year if drivers did not use their cell phones. Texting is the most dangerous phone activity, causing 1 in 4 of every car accidents in the United States. In fact, some experts say that texting while driving is 6 times more likely than driving while intoxicated to result in a car accident.
Some estimate that a driver may be safely able to look away from the road so long as the driver does not do so for more than 2 seconds. On average, however, it takes around 5 seconds to send a text message. Although 46 states have banned texting while driving, the problem continues.
There are three primary types of distractions—visual, cognitive, and manual. Visual distractions require the driver to look away from the road. Cognitive distractions cause the driver to think about other things while driving. Manual distractions require the use of the driver’s hands. Texting while driving is so dangerous because it involves all three types of distractions: the driver’s eyes are on the phone, the driver is thinking about sending or receiving a message, and the driver’s hand is on the phone as well.
How can texting and driving be stopped?
First, check to see if your cell phone has any apps or settings that block texting while driving. For example, the iPhone has a setting called “Do Not Disturb While Driving.” Drivers can use this feature to silence incoming text messages and emails, and they can allow calls to come through if the phone is connected to a mobile Bluetooth connection. The phone will automatically send a text response to other iPhone users, explaining that the driver is behind the wheel. If it is an emergency, a text message that says “urgent” may be sent to bypass the feature. Parents are also able to make this feature mandatory on their teenagers’ phones in the settings.
If no such program is available on a phone, the driver should silence the device and place it out of reach. Some drivers even put their cell phones in the trunk while they are driving.
Teenagers are most at risk of being involved in texting and driving accidents. Parents should make sure that they are modeling good driving behavior for their teenagers, such as by putting the phone away while driving. Teenagers should be warned about the dangers of texting and driving and should be encouraged to share this knowledge with their friends.
By being proactive about reducing the risks involved with texting and driving, hopefully, there will be a decrease in the number of motor vehicle accidents across the country.
If you were injured, call Chicago injury firm Stein & Shulman, LLC
At Stein & Shulman, LLC our Illinois auto accident attorneys hold distracted drivers accountable when they cause accidents. To schedule your free consultation, call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (312) 422-0500.