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Close up of a man texting while driving

This Is the Truth About Distracted Driving

As you may know, distracted driving is extremely dangerous. Thousands of lives are lost each year due to distracted drivers.

It may be helpful to know just how dangerous distracted driving really is so that you can adjust your behavior to help avoid getting into an accident.

Here’s the truth:

Distracted Driving, Defined

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system — anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.”

Smartphone Use Is a Serious Issue

Using your smartphone while driving may not be the only way that you can become distracted behind the wheel, but it is the most prevalent and hazardous form of distracted driving.

While the rapid evolution of technology can be great, there are also issues with it—especially in terms of distracted driving. Research suggests that the exponential growth in the use of smartphones has prompted an increase in distracted driving behaviors.

According to evidence from the World Health Organization (WHO), smartphone use while driving has shot up in the past 5-10 years. At any given moment, 1% to 11% of drivers are using a smartphone.

Smartphone Use Behind the Wheel is Particularly Dangerous

Using your smartphone while driving requires you to take your mind, hands, AND eyes off the road, which is what makes this action particularly harmful. Taking your mind off the road, also referred to as a “cognitive distraction” is the most damaging of the three actions.

Using your smartphone while driving can lead to any of the following:

  • Longer reaction times
    • Particularly braking reaction time, but also reacting to traffic signals
  • Impaired ability to stay in the proper lane
  • Shorter following distances

In addition, if you take your eyes off the road for just five seconds while going 55 miles per hour (mph), that is equivalent to traveling the length of a football field with your eyes closed. For reference, it takes at least five seconds to send or read a text message.

It’s Illegal to Use Your Phone While Driving

On top of being extremely dangerous, using your smartphone while driving is also very illegal. If you’re caught using your phone behind the wheel, you may face the following penalties:

  • Texting or emailing while driving:
    • $100
  • Using a phone while under 18 with a provisional license:
    • $25
  • Using a phone while driving a school bus:
    • $100

You’re More Likely to be Involved in a Wreck

Evidence shows that when you use your cell phone while driving, you are four times more likely to be involved in an accident than when you are not using your phone.

According to the NHTSA, 2,841 people lost their lives in car accidents as a result of distracted drivers.

Important Statistics You Should Know

The following are some important statistics provided by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) regarding cell phone use while driving:

  • The federal government estimates that 9.7% of drivers use their phones at any moment of the day.
  • From 2014 to 2018, cell phone use behind the wheel jumped from 2.3% to 3.4%.
  • Drivers who spend the most time interacting with their phones have the highest rates of crashes and near-crashes
  • Drivers who report frequently using their phone while driving have the following tendencies when compared to those who don’t report frequently using their phone:
    • Drive at higher speeds
    • Change lanes more often
    • Make more hard-braking maneuvers

We’re Here for Your Support

If you’ve been injured in a car accident due to a distracted driver or any other reason for that matter, you may be entitled to compensation. Our attorneys are highly skilled in this area of the law and have helped many others in similar situations. Let us see if we can help you, too.

Call the skilled attorneys at Wallace Pierce Law today at (919) 887-7892 to discuss the details of your case.

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