It might be hard to imagine a life without smartphones. But for as much as you might like to update your social media accounts, video chat with friends or catch up on the latest episode of your favorite show, you know just how important it is to keep your phone out of reach while driving. Unfortunately, few drivers in California seem to share that same understanding. Despite educational campaigns and laws intended to limit distracted driving, texting and driving continues to be a growing issue.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — NHTSA — reports that approximately 660,000 drivers are using their phones at any given time. The chances of causing an accident while driving are 23 times higher than when simply focusing on the road. It is easy to see how phone use causes an astounding 1.6 million car accidents every year.
Why is texting so dangerous?
Texting and driving is a type of distracted driving. According to The Zebra, there are three different types of distractions, and texting manages to fit into all three categories. These categories are:
A cognitive distraction is anything that takes your mind off of driving, while a visual distraction is something that draws your line of sight elsewhere. A manual distraction involves taking your hands off the wheel. Since texting or using your phone requires you to physically manipulate the phone, look at the screen and think about what you are writing, it is a particularly dangerous form of distracted driving.
Is multitasking to blame?
Living in a fast-paced world that values individual output can be stressful. The right way to deal with that stress is not by squeezing additional tasks into driving time. Unfortunately, this is exactly what many people do.
The myth of multitasking has led many people to believe that they can safely and effectively multitask behind the wheel. The reality is that multitasking is effectively impossible. Research shows that people’s attention diminishes when they take on more than one task at a time, so no one can fully focus on driving while also typing out a work email.
Is texting and driving normalized?
Driving is an ingrained and normalized part of everyday society in California. Chances are you get behind the wheel anytime you need to drive to work, drop your kids off at school or simply run errands. Sadly, because it is so normalized, many people forget that driving requires one’s full attention, or they believe that it is safe to text and drive because other people do it.
Injuries associated with texting and driving accidents are often severe. Victims may even need to take time off work to recover, but that lost income can make paying off related medical bills or covering regular expenses virtually impossible. While this might feel discouraging, many victims choose to pursue compensation via personal injury lawsuits.