A recent study by the U.S. Department of Transportation reports that at any given moment during the daytime in the U.S., around 670,000 drivers are using their cell phones while driving. That's more than half a million drivers putting themselves at a much higher risk of causing an accident.
The Statistics on Distracted Driving
For every fatal car crash, 12% of drivers report that they were somehow distracted--either by using their phones to send or read text messages, reading a map, grooming--applying makeup or brushing their hair--or doing something else that took their eyes off the road.
And, perhaps more alarmingly, in the 4.4 seconds or so it takes to send a text message, while driving at highway speed, the average driver takes his or her eyes off the road while driving about the length of a football field. In short, if you're on the highway and you look away from the road to send or read a text, it's as though you drove the length of a football field--blindfolded. Do that too often, and odds are you're going to run into problems.
When you're looking at the stats, it's easy to conclude that texting while driving is unwise at best. It can also be considered criminal at worst. If you're texting while driving and you cause an accident that results in the death of someone else, you can be held liable, charged and facing 5-10 years in prison. Many other states are just starting to crack down on the problem.
A 19-year-old driver was recently charged with manslaughter after hitting and killing a motorcyclist. Authorities say the wreck wouldn't have happened if the woman hadn't been texting while making her way home from work that day. Witnesses saw her driving with one hand on the wheel, cell phone in the other hand, looking down away from the road just minutes before she hit the young motorcyclist. Cell phone records confirm that she was involved in a text conversation at the time the accident happened. Now she's facing up to ten years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.
It could happen to anyone. Could it happen to you?
More and more states are cracking down on distracted driving; many have passed or are in the process of passing laws that outlaw using a phone at all while driving.
An appeals court recently ruled that even third-party texters could be implicated in text-related crashes. If you text someone you know is driving and they crash as a result, you could be held liable. Essentially, if you're electronically "present" in the vehicle and you distract the driver, you're in trouble, too.
In 42 states, texting while driving is banned. In 12 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and Guam, handheld cell phone use is prohibited, as well. Many other states limit cell phone use to certain drivers, requiring that novice or younger drivers abstain from using cell phones at all--even through Bluetooth devices--while driving.
If you're not sure about the laws, better to be safe than sorry. When you're driving, checking your phone might not seem like a big deal at all--but all it takes is a stroke of the unexpected for something disastrous and life-changing to happen. Is it worth it?
If you have sustained injuries in a car accident in which the other driver was texting, call one of our Philadelphia personal injury lawyers to obtain the maximum possible compensation available under PA law.
The Lassen Law Firm only deducts a low 29% contingency fee, not the standard 40-45% like other firms. We serve ALL of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We can sign you up over the phone and start working on your case today.
The Lassen Law Firm
1515 Market St #1510
Philadelphia, PA 19102