Countless studies have shown that texting while driving can be dangerous – which is likely why California, and 38 other states, has laws against it. However, these laws are not proving to be as strong of a deterrent as first hoped given that a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study found that roughly 100,000 motorists are texting while driving at any given time on our nation’s roadways – consequently making the roads more dangerous for everyone and increasing the likelihood of car accidents.
Unfortunately, many motorists are just not getting the message that texting while driving can be risky. For instance, the NHTSA cites a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study for the fact that a driver takes their eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds, on average, every time they send or receive a text message. If driving at 55mph, 4.6 seconds translates to the driver traversing the length of the football field without seeing where they are going.
Even more concerning is that the NHTSA reports that 18 percent of injuring-causing car accidents in 2010 were “distraction-affected” crashes – meaning there is still a long way to go to make our roads safer.
Ironically however, help alleviating the texting while driving problem may come in the form of smartphone apps that limit a driver’s ability to read or send text messages while driving. For example, AT&T offers a free downloadable app for their subscribers that, when activated, silences the notification sounds for all texts and emails. A driver can even set up an automatic response to the sender that they are driving and unable to respond.
There are also apps available for parents wishing to monitor their child’s driving habits. One app in particular not only blocks all calls and texts when set to driver mode, but also notifies the driver of speed limits and when they are driving too fast. The same app can be set to send alerts to parents if it determines the car is traveling above the speed limit.
It remains to be seen whether or not these apps will make any noticeable difference to the number of motorists who text while driving. However, at least it is a step in the right direction to curb the texting epidemic.
If you have been injured by a driver who was too distracted by their cellphone to keep their eyes on the road, contact a knowledgeable car accident attorney to discover what your rights are given your circumstances. You may be entitled to compensation to cover your injuries and medical costs associated with the accident.
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