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Why is Texting and Driving Dangerous? (With Statistics)

Texting and driving is dangerous because it is one of the major causes of motor accidents on the road. Driving requires your full concentration and attention. It’s a visual task. The term, ‘distracted driving’ describes driving in an unsafe manner while performing an activity that draws your attention from the road. Normal driving is already full of distractions and when you add texting to the mix, you increase the danger levels considerably.

Road accidents, multiple pedestrians, an animal, a cyclist, or an emergency vehicle are all examples of common distractions to drivers. These distractions are external in nature and cannot always be avoided. However, texting and driving is internal and can be easily avoided. According to a study by the Michigan State Medical Society, texting and driving increase the dangers of driving by six times.

Different Categories of Distracted Driving

Although any non-driving activity is a distraction and increases your risk of an accident, there are several types of distracted driving. The first category of distracted driving is visual. This is where you look away from the road and lose your focus on driving. The next category is manual. Manual is where you remove one hand or both hands from the steering wheel. The final category is cognitive. This is where you think about everything except the task of driving. Think of times when you arrived safely at your destination, but could hardly remember your drive there.

Texting and driving make use of all three categories. Your eyes are on the phone, rather than the road ahead. Your hand is off the wheel because it is on the phone. Your mind has wandered off your driving and on to the message on your phone.

When you read or send a message, you lose focus on your driving for at least five seconds. It is generally a lot longer than that, but at 55 miles per hour, five seconds will drive you the length of a football field. Imagine doing that with closed eyes.

Research done on simulated driving conditions in a vehicle suggests that even listening or talking on a mobile device with an earpiece or hands-free connection increases the risk of an accident. Some safety advocates maintain that it’s an overload of your cognitive functions.

Understanding the Dangers of Texting and Driving

Man Texting on His iPhone While Driving an Audi Luxury Vehicle-min
Image via Unsplash by Alexandre Boucher.

As a driver, you perform many primary actions to drive safely in your vehicle. Secondary tasks constitute an interference. Unfortunately, younger, less experienced drivers generally involve themselves with secondary tasks, such as using a phone while driving. According to research surveys, drivers in their teens are most at risk. This is because the average teen in the United States sends or receives an average of 2,899 text messages per month. Many of these text exchanges take place while driving.

The following nationwide statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show how dangerous texting and driving is. Texting while driving doubles the risk of a motor accident compared to driving without texting. On average, reading or writing a text message takes 23 seconds. The attempt to read the small text on the phone display and the thought processes involved writing a reply to a message are extremely distracting. Deaths and injuries caused by car accidents involving distracted drivers —including those who were texting while driving — increase annually.

The National Roads and Motorists Association of Australia states that drivers who send text messages spend up to 400% more time with their eyes on the phone instead of on the road.

Reaction times of those who text and drive deteriorate by 35%. Both drivers who drink alcohol at the legal limit and drivers who use cannabis have better reaction times. Drinking at the legal limit came in at 12% lower and cannabis users at 21% lower.

A frightening statistic from the Transport Research Laboratory in the United Kingdom shows that creating a text message while driving takes 63 seconds compared to 22 seconds when sent from a safe spot.

Why You Should Not Text While Driving

The most important reason not to text while driving is road safety. Safety for you, as the driver, is imperative, but also for your passengers and other vehicles driving near you. Regretting your action won’t cover the consequences, such as high medical costs or a victim’s loss of wages due to their ability to work. Apologies won’t replace a life lost due to texting and driving. However you look at it, being the cause of someone’s death or injury will always impact your life.

Texting and driving also has psychological, financial, and legal implications. In most states, like Michigan, texting and driving is against the law. If caught, you could get a ticket and a fine. This can result in an increase in future insurance premiums.

When texting, it is too easy to wander across the lane on the highway. Texting reduces your reaction times so you could easily cause a collision. Texting also decreases your capacity to keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. Even if you don’t hurt someone in a collision, you could damage your vehicle or the other vehicle. Repair to auto damage is a costly exercise.

Will the Police Know That You Are Texting and Driving?

The police have different ways to tell if you were texting and driving. They may actually see you texting while driving as you pass them in your car. Your driving behavior may alert them. Drifting across lanes, speeding, tailgating, or bumper bashing may result in the police checking your text message history to determine whether you were texting and driving at the same time.

As a victim of distracted driving, you may need legal assistance. Look for car accident lawyers with experience in cases of texting and driving in Michigan. You need a company that will protect you from hostile insurance companies and will fight for your rights in court. For information on texting and driving accidents or personal injury in Michigan, please contact Goodman Acker.

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