In 2011, 23 percent of all car accidents reported were attributed to the driver using a cell phone in some capacity – talking, texting and driving, browsing, and even playing games – this number has increased to 54 percent in 2017.
Last year, 3,500 people died in car accidents that are attributable to distracted drivers, including texting and driving. This doesn’t necessarily relate to the use of cell phones, but encompasses all driver distractions.
When it comes to the younger driving demographic, 21 percent of the accident fatalities were directly attributable to the use of cell phones. Texting while driving, either sending or reading while operating a motor vehicle, makes the chance of you having an accident 23 times more likely.
So, why is texting such a catalyst for accidents? One study cited texting as one of the worst distractions that drivers can experience behind the wheel. The average driver will take their eyes off the road for a full 4.6 seconds and travel the length of one whole football field blind to send one text message.
That’ s terrifying, and the message has been made loud and clear: texting and driving is deadly.
One study published in the journal Human Factors has indicated texting and driving is actually more dangerous that talking on a cell phone or to a physical passenger in the vehicle. The study actually tested subjects using a driving simulator and found individuals texting were involved in more crashes because they responded very slowly to the appearance of brake lights in front of them and showed significant impairment in control.
Researchers were also able to determine that it was more than just drivers taking their eyes off the road that contributed to these accidents. There is evidence that attention patterns differ for drivers texting and driving over those who talk on their cell phones or converse with passengers in their cars. For those talking on cell phones, researchers say that the drivers make an attempt to divide their attention equally between the conversation at hand and driving, making adjusting in the priority of each task as they demand it. But in texting, the attention divide is different. During texting, drivers must divert 100 percent of their attention to the phone and then divert it 100 percent back to driving. Because there is several seconds in time when drivers are focused on the process of reading or typing a text, their reactions times are significantly slower. Additionally, the study revealed that reading rather than composing produced the most significant reduction in reaction time.
One possible explanation that has been offered to explain this phenomenon is that drivers that text are 100 percent distracted from driving duties for up to 4.6 seconds at a time. During this time, drivers often decrease their following distance, which, when coupled with a slower reaction time to visual stimulus such as brake lights, often results in catastrophe.
So what does this mean?
It means while everyone knows texting and driving is a hazardous combination, we are actually able to focus on the science behind why. Governments across the country are taking heed of the ever increasing accident rate and are taking action to attempt to slow down the trend and begin to reverse it by banning texting while driving. One such state is Texas.
While the Texas state legislature has failed to pass a unilateral ban on texting while driving, many cities within the state have passed their own versions of a ban.
The next time your cell phone beeps with a text message while you are on your way to your destination, think twice before you pick up the phone to read or respond. If you can’t ignore the message, pull over and respond and keep the roads safer for everyone.
If the other driver was texting during a car accident, the Law Firm of Reyes Browne Reilley can hold them responsible. Call us today at 214-526-7900 or submit the short Free Consultation form below and one of our car accident attorneys in Dallas-Fort Worth will contact you for a free and confidential case review.