Let’s be honest, you’ve probably sent a text message while driving at least once. Our phones have our whole lives on them, and they can be difficult to ignore while we’re stopped at a red light, or while on the move. It’s tempting to respond to messages while driving but more often than not, responding is illegal. 47 states have banned texting and driving in some form so far, and for good reason. Distracted driving, which includes eating, putting on makeup, and reading as well as texting, causes more car accidents than drunk driving, speeding, or reckless driving. Texting and driving can ruin lives, and young people are at the most risk. So the state is looking to new technology in order to deter and stop texting and driving.
Public Service Announcements Have Tried to Stop Distracted Driving
There have been a lot of attempts to reduce the rate of texting and driving. AT&T started a campaign called: “It can wait” that allows people to make a public pledge on social media to not drive distracted. They ran a series of commercials featuring the last messages sent by people who were killed texting and driving to show how responding to a text is not worth risking your life. AT&T even created a rentable texting and driving simulator, so people can experience the potential risks in a safe environment. But ads haven’t worked. According to the NHTSA, distracted driving accidents and deaths have increased since 2010.
New York State Tries Something Different
In an attempt to cut down on distracted driving accidents, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered his Traffic Safety Committee to look into a new piece of technology, called a Textalyzer. The Textalyzer functions similarly to a breathalyzer, the difference being that it connects to your phone, and it could potentially be able to determine whether a person was using their phone at the time of an accident. This is a big deal. This device could potentially determine definitively whether or not that teenager who crashed into your car was sending a text message.
What Does a Textalyzer Do?
A textalyzer is plugged into a drivers phone after an accident has taken place. It then determines whether or not the driver was using their phone at the time of the accident. The technology is not entirely finished, but will be ready in a few months. Some people, civil liberties advocates in particular, are not thrilled with the police potentially getting their hands on a piece of technology like this. Although these are legitimate concerns, authorities say that they will only be able to determine whether or not texting occurred, not what was being said.
Texting and Driving Causes Accidents
Texting and driving is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents. According to the National Safety Council, texting and driving makes a driver 4 times more likely to crash their car than someone who is not texting and driving. In the United States 341,000 car accidents, and 3,154 deaths, involved texting in 2013 alone, the majority of which involved young people. Studies have even shown that texting and driving is as dangerous as driving drunk! So why do people keep engaging in such risky behavior?
What Injuries Can Be Expected In This Kind of Accident?
The injuries that occur in texting and driving accidents are the same as those that occur in regular car accidents. They include, but are not limited to:
- Broken bones
- Ligament damage
- Head, neck, and spine injuries
- Broken ribs
- Punctured lungs
Why is Texting and Driving so Dangerous?
Texting and driving is so dangerous because drivers aren’t looking at the road. This sounds simple, and almost silly to write, but not looking at the road while driving is a big deal. The average person looks away from the road for 5 seconds to send a text message. When traveling at 55 mph, that means people are driving the length of a football field without looking at the road. Driving a 3000 lbs sedan at that speed is dangerous enough, but when drivers aren’t even looking at the road, the results can be catastrophic.
Contact an Experienced Lawyer
If you have been in an accident where someone was texting while driving, it is important to call an lawyer as soon as possible. Fill out a simple form, or contact the offices of Macaluso and Fafinski P.C. at 718-364-4000.