Today, nearly everyone has a smart phone. It seems we can’t even walk down the street without having our heads buried in our cellular device sending text messages, emails and communicating on social media. Simply put, they have taken over our world and are here to stay. There is no doubt that Apple and Samsung which have led the revolution of the cellular telephone have changed the way we do business and interact with family and friends. However, cell phones can also be quite dangerous. In fact, the use of a cell phone while driving could be more deadly than drunk driving.
Car and Driver Magazine conducted a test to compare a driver’s ability to break at 70 miles per hour while sober, while under the influence of alcohol, while sending a text message and while reading an email. The data that they collected from that event was frightening. At 70 miles per hour a sober driver was able to break to a complete stop in .54 seconds. For an intoxicated driver who was at the legal limit of .08 it took that individual an additional 4 feet from that of a sober driver to break. It took a sober driver who was reading an email an additional 36 feet from that of a sober driver who was not distracted to come to a complete stop. What is was most concerning is that a sober driver sending a text message took nearly 70 feet further to come to a complete stop compared to that of a sober undistracted driver. Imagine you were stopped at a traffic light and were rear-ended by an individual who is texting and driving. It is likely that they will rear end your vehicle and push you into several vehicles in front of you with the amount of distance that it would take them to stop. With that type of force your injuries could be catastrophic.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has launched a campaign called STOP THE TEXTS. STOP THE WRECKS. This campaign solely focuses on building awareness as to the injuries and fatalities caused by distracted drivers who were texting and/or reading text messages and emails while driving. One of the most staggering statistics listed on their website is that 11% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time of the accident. That means, they could have easily avoided the accident and death had they been focusing on driving instead of using their cellular phone at the time of the accident. Even more concerning is that they found that 49% of drivers with cellular phones under the age of 35 send or read text messages while driving. That means nearly one in two people under the age of 35 on the roadway today are sending and receiving text messages while driving.
To help curb with the problem of texting and driving many states have enacted laws that make it illegal to text and drive. In Florida, Statute §316.305 which makes it illegal to text and drive. Specifically, Florida Statute §316.305(3)(a) states:
A person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into a wireless communications devise or while sending or reading date on such a device for the purpose of nonvoice interpersonal communication, including, but not limited to, communication methods known as texting, e-mailing, and instant messaging.
Should you be involved in an automobile accident while texting and driving in Florida you would likely not only receive a citation for the automobile accident, but also for violating the Texting and Driving Statute. Further, if you cause injury to another person while texting and driving you could also be the subject of a civil lawsuit as that person may seek compensation for their injuries. Imagine proceeding to a trial in a case in which you were texting and driving and the jury considering how dangerous texting and driving can be. Likely, a jury would not find much sympathy for an individual who felt that a text message or email was more important than focusing on the road.
The next time you hear your phone beep with a text message or email while driving, just remember, it can wait! Wait until you are stopped at a traffic light or pull over. It is simply not worth risking your life or that of another just to read a text message. Additionally, you can always be a defensive driver and if you notice that someone else on the road is driving and texting, then move away from that vehicle, keep your distance and ensure that should something happen you will hopefully avoid becoming a victim. Remember, defensive driving can often save your own life. If you or someone you know have been injured as a result of an automobile accident in which somebody was texting and driving, then contact us at (888) 450-4909.
Stop Texts. Stop Wrecks. Image: http://www.stoptextsstopwrecks.org/
Car and Driver. http://www.caranddriver.com/features/texting-while-driving-how-dangerous-is-it
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