According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website, sending or reading a text removes your eyes from the road for five seconds, and at 55 mph, that equates to driving the entire length of a football field with your eyes closed. There are many different types of driving distractions, such as: eating, drinking, putting on make-up, talking to vehicle passengers, and looking at a GPS. However, the NHTSA lists texting as the most alarming distraction. Another article from Fortune Magazine also cites data from NHTSA and explains that US fatalities from traffic accidents rose 7.2% in 2015, which was the largest increase in 50 years. It further explains that distracted driving accounted for a role of 10% of those deaths. Similarly, fatalities from “distraction-affected” crashes increased from 8.8% in 2015 compared to the year before.
People can take many different measures to alleviate the temptation of distracted driving. For the tech savvy, a recent article in the New York Times states that the Apple’s new iOS11 will come with certain features aimed at limiting drivers’ use of their phones while driving. For instance, the next update will include a potential solution for phone alerts: it will automatically block notifications when your phone thinks you are driving. Also, when texts come through, your phone could send an automatic reply stating that you are driving and that you will respond upon arriving at your destination. Other methods include parents having a talk with a child about the importance of not texting while driving, and of course setting the example of not texting while driving themselves. Another method is to take a pledge against texting while driving; this can be done through an organization, at home, or even at work. Some people may choose to simply silence their phones and put them aside or even turn their phones off while driving.
If you have been involved in an auto accident and someone hit you while distracted, please call my office. Sometimes people admit to being on the phone while driving, but other times, they aren’t as honest or they are forgetful and an investigation is required to find out exactly what that person was doing when the accident occurred. My office is fully and readily equipped to look into the accident, and we are usually able to obtain the records indicating that the person was in fact on their phone at the time of the accident.