Texting While Driving

Texting While Driving in Queens

How big is the problem?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2011, 32,367 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes. According to the NHTSA, in 2010 alone, more than 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving crashes. Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation is leading the effort to stop texting and cellular phone use behind the wheel.

Since 2009, the U.S. Department of Transportation has held two national distracted driving summits, it has banned texting and cell phone use for commercial drivers, and it leads the effort in encouraging states to adopt tough anti-texting while driving laws; it has also launched numerous public awareness campaigns about this serious issue. According to the NHTSA, there are three main types of driver distraction, they include:

  • Manual – taking your hands off the wheel
  • Visual – taking your eyes off the road
  • Cognitive – taking your mind off the task of driving

The NHTSA reports that cell phone use was reported in 18% of distracted driving fatalities in America, it also reports that texting takes your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds, at 55 mph, that's like driving the length of an entire football field while blindfolded.

Looking at Further Statistics

In a February 2006 report issued by Monash University Accident Research Centre titled: The Effects of Text Messaging on Your Novice Driver Performance, it stated that approximately one quarter of vehicle crashes are caused by a distracted or inattentive driver (Stutts, Reinfurt, Staplin & Rodgman, 2001). What's more, as more wireless communications enter the vehicle market, the incidence of distracted driver crashes is anticipated to escalate (Regan, 2004). The report stated that a growing body of research has generally found that talking on a cellular phone degrades driver performance significantly.

In an Australian study conducted by Telstra, it found that 30% of the people surveyed had sent text messages while driving and that one in six drivers regularly send text messages while driving (Telstra, 2003). Given the particularly high incidence of texting while driving, critical research has been conducted in regards to the impact of driving performance while sending and retrieving text messages. This research is particularly important because texting causes physical, visual and cognitive distraction while driving, which is a greater risk than merely talking on a hand-held device. The study's key findings found that:

  • When drivers retrieved or sent text messages, the amount of time their eyes were off the road increased by 400%.
  • Drivers veered out of their lane by 28% more when sending or receiving texts.
  • The number of incorrect lane changes increased by 140% when the driver sent or retrieved text messages, which were mostly due to drivers not seeing signs when distracted by text messaging.
  • Ninety-five percent of the participants reported that their driving performance declined when they were text messaging.

The study found that drivers spent 400% more time with their eyes off the road when texting, and although drivers tried to compensate for being distracted by increasing their following distance, drivers did not reduce their overall speed while texting.

Texting: A Major Public Concern in Queens County

According to a recent Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study, 25% of drivers in the U.S. report having regularly or fairly often talking on a cell phone while driving. The CDC also reports that 75% of U.S. drivers ages 18 to 29 reports talking on their cell phone while driving at least once in the past 30 days, and almost 40% report taking on their cell phone regularly while driving. The CDC also reports that:

  • In the U.S., 52% of drivers ages 18 to 29 report texting or emailing while driving at least once during the past 30 days and more than 25% report texting or emailing regularly while driving.
  • In Europe, approximately 44% of young adults in Portugal and 17% in the United Kingdom report having texted or email within the past 30 days while driving.

Younger, inexperienced drivers are in the largest risk group for texting while driving, and today, many states have enacted laws against texting while driving. On October 27, 2010, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration banned commercial drivers from texting while driving. Texting while driving is a major global concern that has caused countless accidents in recent years.

If you or someone you love has been injured at the hands of someone who was texting while driving, you are urged to contact a Queens personal injury attorney from the Law Offices of Gary E. Rosenberg, P.C. for assistance filing a claim for compensation.

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