For a long time, drunk driving has been at the forefront of the car safety debate. This has led to a long list of laws being designed to decrease driving accidents related to drunk drivers. According to the NHTSA 2011 Traffic Safety Facts, laws passed by all 50 states and the District of Columbia lowering the threshold of illegal driving to .08 blood alcohol content have resulted in a decrease in drunk driving fatalities. In 2002, there were 12,405 drunk driving fatalities. That number dropped to 9,296 in 2011 – a 25% decrease.
However, a new driving menace is on the rise. The use of cellphones while driving, according to different studies, has proven to be even more dangerous than drunk driving.
In 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) documented around 3.450 fatalities and almost 400.000 injuries due to accidents caused by drivers who were distracted. Indeed, this led to the conclusion that driving while using cell phones is six times more dangerous than drunk driving. The NHTSA reports that texting while driving is currently responsible for approximately 1.6 million accidents every year – about 25% of all driving accidents.
Another technical study by the Car and Driver Magazine demonstrated why using your phone is so dangerous.
The magazine tested the reaction time of drivers under different conditions and found the following results:
* Unimpaired: .54 seconds to brake
* Legally drunk: add 4 feet
* Reading e-mail: add 36 feet
* Sending a text: add 70 feet
The study demonstrates that reading an email and sending a text while driving takes approximately 25% longer to brake. This can be deadly on a highway, or on a populated neighborhood street.
Ten states, including Washington D.C., prohibit all drivers from using handheld cell phones. Thirty two states along with Washington D.C. forbid inexperienced drivers from using cell phones, and 39 states plus D.C. prohibit all drivers from texting.
Sadly, many more accidents will occur and that means more injuries and deaths will have to happen before the laws will be changed. There are countless stories of teens dying in accidents because the driver was texting while driving.
As cell phone use and driving becomes more common, the chances of being involved in a car accident increases. if you or a loved one have been injured in an accident where cell phone use was involved, contact Maidenberg law Group for a free consultation. Call us toll free at (888) 520-9617, or contact us online.