The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that every day nine people die in the United States because of motor vehicular accidents that involve a distracted driver. Texting is the most common and disturbing distraction. Sending or reading a text while driving 55 miles per hour is equivalent to driving the length of a football field with your eyes shut.
The fatalities and injuries linked to distracted driving are so prevalent that Minnesota adopted the Hands-Free Law in 2019. It bans drivers from using their cellphones while operating a vehicle. Distracted drivers who violate this law, thus causing death and injuries, could face criminal charges and even homicide.
What makes sending or reading a text message so dangerous?
Distracted driving is when a driver does something other than driving while driving. The CDC established three types of distracted driving: visual, manual and cognitive. Understanding these distractions will help us realize why texting while driving is so dangerous. Here is a brief overview:
- Visual: Visual distractions cause the driver to look somewhere other than the road. They may look at a billboard or check their navigation system. Taking your eyes off the road even momentarily can result in an immediate and catastrophic car accident.
- Manual: Manual distractions are when the driver takes their hand off the wheel. They may be reaching for a chip or smoking a cigarette. You need two hands to have complete control of the vehicle. Using just one hand for something other than driving can even prevent you from pulling the hand break when necessary.
- Cognitive: Cognitive distractions take the driver’s mind off driving. Their focus and attention are on something other than driving. They end up running traffic lights or forgetting to signal a turn.
Texting comprises all three distractions! You use your eyes to read and look at the keyboard. You use your hands and fingers to type. You use your mind to think of the message you want to send.
Actions against distractions
If you were in a car accident that involved a driver who was texting or distracted in other ways, you now know their negligence caused the accident and damages. A driver must concentrate on driving. They should not have been texting in the first place. They could have easily pulled over to send or read the message. You can pursue a personal injury claim against this driver and recover compensation for the injuries they could have prevented had they pulled over. If the texting caused a wrongful death, you could sue them and recover justice for your lost loved one.