You hear the “ding”on your cell phone and you must read the text. If you’re sitting at your desk at work, in your living room, or in your local coffee shop, it’s not a problem.But if you’re driving on I-49 from the south or I-70 from the east at 60 (ormore) mph, reading and responding to that text isn’t wise.
Texting is one of the top reasons people stop paying attention while they’re driving. Reading and responding to a text message changes your focus and takes your complete attention away from the road. Even if you’re driving on a road that you’re well familiar with, just one glance at your phone could lead to a crash.
The Three Distractions
Distracted driving is anything that takes your attention away from driving. This includes talking, eating,drinking, changing the radio station, and even adjusting the steering wheel position while you’re in motion. If you’re daydreaming or mentally distracted,this can also keep you from fully paying attention.
The advent of smartphones brings the world to a small device that lets you communicate instantly with anyone with a variety of apps. Someone driving a vehicle will pay more attention to their phone than the half-ton vehicle they’re controlling at a high rate of speed. Even a crash at 20 mph can kill someone.
When you look at your phone to read and answer a text, you are distracted in all three ways:
1. Visually,because you’re looking at your phone and not the road
2. Manually,because you must handle the phone with one hand off the wheel
3. Cognitively,because the text takes your focus and attention away from your driving
Because your attention is elsewhere, you can quickly lose track of your speed and environment. After checking your phone, it takes time to regain your focus on driving. This endangers others in your vicinity, whether other drivers, pedestrians,bicyclists, and motorcyclists, and those working on the roadside.
Any distraction that takes attention away from your driving can lead to a crash. All three distractions at once elevates your chances of having an accident.
How Dangerous Is Texting And Driving?
Multiple studies show that:
· Driving and texting leads to a six times higher chance of an accident than driving while intoxicated
· It Also leads to a 400% increase of time a driver’s eyes are off the road
· The Five seconds it takes to answer a text means that at 55 mph, you’ve traveled the length of a football field, about 360 feet
· Texting and driving causes one out of every four car crashes, responsible for 390,000 injuries
According to the National Safety Council, cell phone use is responsible for 1.6 million crashes every year. And the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that about 8 people die every day in the US because of distracted driving, or just over 3,100 per year.
The reality is that once distracted by a text, it takes time to get re-oriented back to driving.Mentally, it can take as long as 27 seconds to bring your attention back to the road, with a few seconds more to recalibrate your vision. Even with voice texting and functions that read texts to you, the distraction is still there and can lead to a crash.
Missouri Laws On Texting And Driving
Missouri only bans texting and driving for those under the age of 21 and has no ban on handheld devices for adults. Unfortunately, that’s not helping. The MDOT reports that 70% of all crashes involving a driver using a phone were over the age of 22.
Other states have different laws and penalties for the same thing, such as Alaska’s one year in jail and $10,000 fine.
Another consequence of texting and driving is the increase of insurance rates after an accident,especially if you are found to be at fault.
Kansas City Car Accident Attorney
Play it safe—put your phone down when you’re driving and don’t pick it up. Even if you follow the rules of the road,other drivers don’t, and will text while they’re driving. If you need help after a car accident, we’re ready to help.
Since 1918, The Popham Law Firm has helped hundreds of people in many accident types, fromsimple fender benders to accidents involving injuries and property damage.We'll be happy to review your case and let you know if you have one and how to proceed. Contact us at (844) 243-2288, or use our online contact form to get started.