Sending a simple text while driving seems so mundane, but here is the reality behind it: in 2010, over 3,000 people lost their lives and another 419,000 people were injured in motor vehicle accidents that involved drivers distracted by their phones and other devices. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving-related crashes accounted for around 18 percent of all motor vehicle accidents that year, or nearly one out of every five.
The answer for many lawmakers was to make it illegal to use a hand-held device while driving. Perhaps this prevented some car accidents from happening, but the technology industry answered the problem in a different and equally ineffective way: they created hands-free devices so that consumers wouldn’t have to stop communicating with people hundreds of miles away while driving at 60 miles per hour next to scores of other drivers.
Hands-free technology was supposed to be the antidote for texting or talking on the phone while driving, but studies are showing that using a hands-free device is no safer than using a device that is not hands-free. In one recent university study, driver performance was tracked on a closed course while those drivers were split into two groups: one group used a hand-held device to send and receive texts while the other used a hands-free device. Results showed that both groups performed extremely poorly on the road, although the group with the hands-free device slightly outperformed the other group.
The bottom line is that trying to do anything else—even hands-free, even sending a text that way—is a reason to be distracted from the most important function of any vehicle driver: driving. These actions require an enormous amount of cognitive attention, and most drivers cannot afford to give over much more cognition, since driving should take up all of one’s attention.
While it must be acknowledged that the use of our devices is not going away, it must also be acknowledged that using any such device constitutes a major danger to everyone else on the road, at the shoulder, or in the crosswalk.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has been involved in a serious accident resulting in injury due to the negligence of a distracted driver, it is important that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney. You have rights that you may not know about, and an experienced personal injury lawyer can properly assess the merits of your case and offer you counsel in getting the compensation you deserve.