Text messaging while driving creates a car accident risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. This statistic is alarming because while texting behind the wheel is a preventable act, more people than ever are using cell phones while driving, to make calls and text.
Texting while driving is one of the behaviors being highlighted during April’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month: One Text or Call Could Wreck It All. Many states are using the month, sponsored by the DOT, to increase awareness and law enforcement efforts.
In 2010, over 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving crashes. in the U.S. Distracted driving behavior includes texting while driving and cell phone use, but also other activities that take a driver’s attention off the road. This can include: putting on makeup, grooming, talking to others in the car and GPS use. DOT officials ask drivers to consider distracted driving behavior as any behavior that takes your hands off the wheel, your vision off the road or your mind off driving.
But cell phone use gets the most attention. As cell phone users have increased over the years, so have car accidents related to texting while driving and talking on a cell phone. Today, 9 out of 10 Americans own a cell phone and users are getting younger and younger. The National Literary Trust reports 85 percent of children in this country own cell phones, compared to the 73 percent who own books at home.
Some 37 states, including Massachusetts, ban texting while driving. Ten states, D.C., Guam and the Virgin Islands prohibit drivers from using handheld cell phones while driving. No state bans all cell phone use behind the wheel.
- Do not talk on your cell phone or text message while driving.
- If you are tempted to use your cell phone, keep it in a place you will not answer or check it when stopped at intersections.
- Keep your GPS mounted on the windshield and enter the the address where you are heading before you start your trip. Stop at the side of the road if you need to make adjustments to the GPS.
- If you are using a printed map, familiarize yourself with your route and plan to make stops.
- Keep eating and drinking to a minimum.
- If you are traveling with a child, give them a book to occupy them. If you are traveling with several children, explain how they must behave in the car so you can focus on the road.
- Do not watch videos.
- Do not apply make-up, comb your hair or perform other grooming activities
- April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, U.S. Department of Transportation
- The Growth of Mobile Into 2011
- Cell Phone and Texting Laws, Governors Highway Safety Association
The Boston car accident lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck are experienced at handling car accident cases in Massachusetts. If you have been injured, it is important to learn your rights. Contact us today for a free legal consultation at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.