Distracted Driving - The Dangers of Texting Behind the Wheel

In our fast-paced society, text messaging is an increasingly handy way to communicate. Rather than dialing a number, waiting for it to ring, and then getting into a conversation, we can just text a few words and save a heap of time. "Running a few minutes late" takes so much less effort to text. In situations like that, it's not necessary to make a phone call. Plus, it can save money. Rather than using up your cell phone minutes, you can just spend a few pennies on a quick text. However, that little bit of time can be enough to cause a serious car accident .

We've all been there. You're on your way to meet someone, and your phone beeps. You wonder if it's them. Are they going to be late? Is something wrong? What if it's someone from home alerting you to an emergency that needs your immediate attention? You try to focus on the road, but you keep thinking about it. What if it's something important? Traffic slows, and you reach over with your right hand trying to steadily maintain the wheel with your left. You grab your phone and press the button. You don't even notice that the car in front of you has slowed to a stop. Boom. Just like that you're in a car accident. You're not alone. Distracted driving is serious business.

According to the US Department of Transportation, "20 percent of injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving." Of the people killed in those car accidents, 995 had reportedly used a cell phone as a distraction. According to that same report, teenagers have particularly high risks. 16% of drivers under the age of 20 who were involved in fatal car accidents had been distracted. That's why it's so important to educate our youth on the dangers of distracted driving. They may be out with their friends, trying to arrange a meet-up. Maybe they're worried about getting in trouble with their parents for not responding to a text right away. Maybe, in this fast-paced world, they just couldn't wait. It only takes a few seconds to read a text, but it only takes a few seconds to veer off the road or across the center line. A serious car accident can happen in what feels like no time at all.

Teenagers aren't the only ones at risk. Of the distracted drivers involved in fatal car accidents, people in their 30s had the highest risks. 24% of distracted drivers in their 30s had used a cell phone as a distraction.

So what do we do? Do we have to retrain our brains to accept information at a slower pace? Perhaps, but that takes time. Using hands-free devices is one way to help. It may be better to save that text and actually start making phone calls more. If you're using a hands-free device, then at least you can keep your eyes on the road. It's still important to be careful though, even with hands free devices. If you're on a cell phone while driving, whether you're reading or sending a text, answering or making a call, you are driving distracted. It's very dangerous and in many states including Oregon it's against the law. It can lead to a serious or even fatal car accident. In fact, according to the Department of Transportation, distracted driving is a lot like drunk driving. Whenever you're on the road, and hear that little beep that you just can't resist, imagine that beep represents an alcoholic beverage. Save it until you're somewhere safe and off the road.

For more information about the dangers of texting while driving you can visit the US Government's website: Distraction.Gov

You can also call our Portland personal injury attorney to help you recover compensation.