Texting and Driving Accidents
As we return to the road, don’t allow usage of electronic devices to negatively affect driving habits.
Texting and driving is dangerous causing car accidents, injuries and deaths every day. In the United States, every day approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured in crashes involving a distracted driver.
While a majority of drivers believe that reading, typing and talking on hand-held cellphones is “very” or “extremely dangerous”, approximately a third of drivers report engaging in one of these behaviors at least once in the past 30 days.
These statistics are from a recently released report, “Bad behavior: Drivers know it’s wrong, but many do it anyway” by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Executive director of the AAA Foundation, David Yang said, “While drivers acknowledge that certain activities behind the wheel – like texting, are dangerous, some do them anyway.” He added, “We need to be aware of the serious consequences of engaging in these types of dangerous driving behavior and change course.”
If you or a loved one has suffered harm from a texting and driving accident, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact Lepley, Engelman, Yaw & Wilk, LLC to discuss your situation.
Texting & Driving in Pennsylvania
((Pull Quote – Bold this and put it in a box on the right side of the article Did you know that sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds? At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed!))
In 2018, distracted driving was responsible for 14,202 crashes in Pennsylvania and 65 fatalities. Around the US, nearly 2,850 people died and an estimated 400,000 people were injured in distracted driving crashes.
Pennsylvania is one of 48 states that has passed legislation banning texting and driving. This legislation outlines texting and driving as a primary offense, meaning an officer can stop and ticket a driver perceived to be texting without having observed any other traffic violation.
Enforcing the law is a challenge in Pennsylvania though. The legislation allows drivers to use phones for calls or GPS navigation while driving, preventing police from easily discerning whether someone is texting or dialing a phone number. Additionally, the penalty for breaking the texting ban is somewhat minimal - a $50 fine, plus court fees, and no points are assigned to one’s driver’s license.
An experienced texting while driving lawyer in Pennsylvania will oversee an independent investigation – obtaining police reports, cellphone records, video surveillance, medical experts and more - to ascertain how the accident happened and make a strong case. Texting and driving is negligent driving by a distracted driver and those harmed are entitled to a personal injury claim.
Teens + Texting and Driving = Danger
Young drivers are especially at risk. As we celebrated Memorial Day, we also kicked off the “100 Deadliest Days” -- the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day when automobile crash deaths involving a teen driver historically rises. From 2008 to 2018, more than 8,300 people died in crashes involving teen drivers.
Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for US teenagers. Each day, six teens between 16 – 19 years old die due to motor vehicle accidents and hundreds more are injured.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), eight percent of drivers ages 15 to 19 years old were reported as distracted in fatal crashes. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of the fatal crashes.
Distraction can be the result of eating, changing music, or other passengers, but may likely be from texting and driving. In 2017, 42 percent of high school student drivers reported sending a text or email while driving within the past 30 days, according to the CDC’s national Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System.
Theresa Podguski, director of legislative affairs for the American Automobile Association (AAA) East Central explains, “The crash data from the last decade [is] alarming, and with the combination of COVID-related factors at play this year, it’s essential for parents to talk with their teens now. Setting ground rules and modeling safe driving behaviors will go a long way towards saving lives.”
All Drivers Need to Focus on Driving
While teens may be the most distracted drivers overall, young adults from 20 – 29 years old are most distracted by their cellphones, comprising 18 percent of all distracted drivers. Teens and adults age 30 – 39 years old tied for second at 17 percent each of all distracted drivers.
Whether distractions from cellphones or in-vehicle technologies, many new electronic tools create visual, manual and cognitive distractions to drivers – even when hands-free and voice-controlled. Drivers using phones, whether hands-free or handheld, have a tendency to tune out up to 50 percent of the information in their driving environment, according to a white paper by the National Safety Council
This is called inattention blindness and it doubles drivers’ reaction time -- causing a slower reaction than drivers impaired by alcohol at the legal intoxication limit. Texting while driving is six times more likely to cause a car accident than drunk driving. Inattention blindness caused by cellphone usage or texting and driving increases the risk of injury and property damage crashes fourfold.
Insurance companies are responding to texting and driving accidents by raising insurance rates by an average of 23 percent, up to 63 percent. Insurance penalties for distracted driving have grown by nearly 8,000 percent.
If You or a Loved One is in a Texting and Driving Accident
Texting and driving is negligent and dangerous, distracted driving. Distracted driving delays reaction time and affects the driver’s control of the vehicle, causing devastating or even catastrophic injuries in the event of a crash.
Many at-fault drivers will admit they were using a cellphone prior to an accident, but if they do not, our experienced car accident attorneys can subpoena cellphone records, find and request video footage from street cameras or security cameras, locate eye witnesses, and recreate how the accident took place to strengthen your case. Car accident attorneys normally get three times more than individuals in settlement dollars from insurance carriers.
Lepley, Engelman, Yaw and Wilk, LLC’s experienced car accident and personal injury lawyers in Pennsylvania have fought for thousands of injured victims and their families, helping them recover compensation for medical bills, lost pay and pain and suffering. Doug Engelman, Gary Black and David Wilk have decades of experience in personal injury and have won substantial settlements for our clients.
Consultation is free and the results can be invaluable. Contact Lepley, Engelman, Yaw and Wilk, LLC today.