Texting a major factor in distracted driving accidents

Although the state of Florida does not have a ban on driving while talking on a cell phone, Florida is one of 44 states that bans texting while driving, in addition to Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands. As cell phones grow in popularity, so do the number of fatalities associated with texting and driving accidents. According to a Pew research survey, 40 percent of teenagers responded that they had been in a car with someone who was unsafely texting and driving. Of drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 who survived a car accident, 11 percent reported that the driver was texting at the time of the collision.

The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association says that conveying a simple message of “On the road, off the phone” may help teens by giving them a straightforward instruction. Parents and driving school teachers may also want to sit down with teenagers before they get their licenses to explain to them that even a few seconds’ distraction could result in a fatal accident or in an accident with serious injuries. Indeed, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute reported that drivers who are texting while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash than drivers who are not similarly distracted.

Teenagers are not the only distracted drivers. Parents should make it a point to lead their children by example by not engaging in texting while driving themselves. Parents may also want to consider setting rules for themselves and their family members regarding distracted driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 18 percent of all fatal crashes and crashes causing injury in 2010 were attributable to distracted driving. With so many drivers on the road who are failing to show proper care, victims of car accidents may want to speak with a personal injury attorney to determine if they should try to seek recovery from a negligent driver.

Source: Government Highway Safety Association, “Distracted Driving Laws,” November 2014

Source: FCC, “The Dangers of texting while driving “, November 21, 2014