Any distracted driving accident lawyer in Phoenix knows that most drivers who text behind the wheel think that an accident will never happen to them. As the Huffington Post reports, drivers who use their cell phones or engage in other distracting behavior while driving begin to believe that they can do this safely since they repeatedly engage in these behaviors and nothing happens to them. These drivers, while recognizing that texting is dangerous, don’t actually believe that their own texting is going to cause a crash since it hasn’t in the past, even when the reality is that a distracted driving crash could happen at any time.
Although the Huffington Post describes distracted driving as something that “every driver does,” at least occasionally, a public education campaign in Arizona right now aims to discourage texting among teens and to drive home the point that the decision to text behind the wheel can cost you your life. This campaign is important at a time when distracted driving is now considered to be more dangerous than drunk driving in terms of auto accident risk.
Distracted Driving is a Very Real Danger
According to My Fox Phoenix, AT&T is currently recruiting high school students to sign an “It Can Wait Pledge,” vowing not to text and drive. To help kids understand the tremendous damage that texting can do, AT&T set up simulators outside of local Arizona schools and asked students to send a text message while at the simulator. When the kids saw that the text forced them to look away for too long and could cause a crash, they were asked to sign the pledge.
AT&T’s campaign is just one of many efforts designed to address the serious problem of distracted driving. Data has indicated that around 75 percent of all teen drivers text behind the wheel. The majority of adults either send or read texts regularly as well, despite knowing that doing so is dangerous. This explains why Potsdam reports that driving while texting is now considered six times as dangerous as driving while impaired.
Texting is so risky because the average driver looks away from the road for 4.6 seconds when texting. The motorist could travel the length of a whole football field while he is looking at his phone, assuming that he is traveling at 55 miles-per-hour. These texting drivers cause 3,000 deaths in distracted driving crashes and cause 3330,000 injuries each year according to a Harvard Center for Risk Analysis study.
To help reduce the chances of these types of deadly accidents happening, drivers need to understand that they take a very real risk if they send even a single text, and need to make a commitment never ever to text for any reason.
Because most people respond to triggers like the ding of a text message instinctively and pick up their phones out of habit, even when driving, it is best for motorists to make it a habit to turn their phones on silent and put them out of reach when they are driving. Parents also need to talk to teens about the dangers of texting and should set a good example for their children by not texting in the car. When parents explain that texting is completely unacceptable, hopefully this will discourage teen drivers from picking up the phone behind the wheel.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact Israel & Gerity at (888) 900-3667 for a free case consultation.