What Are the Dangers of Texting While Driving?
There are many motorists who are guilty of texting and driving. It is one of the most common reasons why...
There are many motorists who are guilty of texting and driving. It is one of the most common reasons why people can get distracted while driving their cars. It is also a very dangerous behavior. On the average, it would take 5 seconds for someone to read a text message. It takes a longer time to respond. The length of time spent looking at the screen means the same length of time your eyes are not on the road.
Increases the Risk of Traffic Accidents
One of the most obvious dangers of texting and driving is an increase in the risk of a traffic accident. It can be either vehicular collisions or hitting a pedestrian. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that texting while driving is the most common cause of teenage driver deaths. It has dislodged drunk driving from the top spot.
The same federal agency said that it takes about 4.6 seconds for drivers to ‘manage’ the messages on their mobile phones. If you are speeding at 55 MPH, this is the same as driving from one goal end of a football field to the other goal end. The sad thing is that your eyes are not on the road during this period of time. And if you are familiar with the length of a football field, you know that anything can happen between the two goal ends.
Teenagers are not the only ones who are guilty of such behavior. American telecommunications giant, AT&T, also said that almost 50 percent of all adult drivers in the US are guilty of texting and driving. What is most surprising about the results of the survey is that 9 out of 10 of these drivers are aware that such a behavior is dangerous.
Here are some statistics that show why texting and driving is bad.
- More than 3,000 teenage drivers die every year because of car crashes secondary to texting while driving. The figure can be higher because of underreporting.
- The US Department of Transportation estimates that texting and driving claims the lives of at least 6,000 people every year. More than half a million also get injured because of mobile phone-related accidents. In the millions of car crashes every year in the US, 1.6 million of them always involve mobile phones.
- Drivers of large trucks are 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident when they operate their mobile phones while driving.
- Four out of 10 American teens report that they are passengers in a car where the driver uses his or her mobile phone.
- Female drivers are more likely than male motorists to look at their mobile phones when driving.
- Using mobile phones while driving is equivalent to having a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent. This delays the driver’s reaction time.
Breaks the Law and Can Get Punished for It
Not only are the dangers of texting and driving limited to accidents on the road. It can also spell trouble with the law. States recognize the role of distracted driving in the rising incidence of car crashes. Many of these states have existing laws that penalize drivers who text and drive.
For example, Wisconsin penalizes first-time offenders with a $400 fine. There is also an additional 4-point deduction in the driver’s license records. A second infraction often comes with a heftier $800 fine plus a potential for license suspension.
In Iowa, the penalty for first-time offenders is higher. If you get caught texting while behind the wheel, you can be slapped with a $1,000 fine. This is often enough to deter drivers from repeating the same mistake. Repeat offenders often face stiffer penalties.
The law against distracted driving is more relaxed in Minnesota. You will still get a $300 fine for your first offense. What separates the Minnesota law from the others is that it also penalizes motorists for issuing voice commands to mobile phones.
There are 16 states in the US that ban the use of handheld devices by drivers. There are also 38 states that prohibit the use of mobile phones by beginning drivers. There are 21 states that do not allow school bus drivers to use their mobile phones while driving. Forty-seven states ban the practice of texting while driving.
In short, breaking the law is one of the reasons why texting and driving is bad.
Damages the Car and Incurs Expenses in the Process of Repairs
Figuring in a car accident is always a very expensive proposition. If the impact is great enough, you might end up with your car getting declared as a total wreck. You will not have a ride for several weeks. This can bring you a lot of inconvenience.
Repairing your damaged car can also be very expensive. This is especially true if you do not have ample insurance coverage. You may also have to pay for the repair of the other vehicles involved in the crash if you are at fault. Minor fender benders will cost you a few hundred dollars. If there is damage to the car’s chassis or any of its critical components, then you are looking to spend a few thousand dollars.
Texting and driving is not only dangerous; it can also be very expensive.
Potential for an Increase in Insurance Premiums
If you get involved in a traffic accident, your insurer will often pay for any damages. There is a good chance that the insurer will restructure your premiums if they find out that you’ve been using your mobile phone while driving. Distracted driving is a risk factor that insurers have to consider when making policy adjustments.
The next time you purchase an insurance for your car, you may already be greeted with a hefty insurance premium. This is regardless of whether you damaged your car or not. Being cited by police for distracted driving is enough reason for insurers to jack up the price of your premiums.
There are many dangers of texting and driving. It can lead to injuries, damage to property, and loss of life. In other words, it can change your life forever. Keep your eye on the road and not on your mobile device.
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