Ever drive the length of a football field while blindfolded? Sound terrifying? Don’t scoff yet, because if you’ve ever sent a text while driving at 55 miles per hour or received one from someone who was, then you’ve already engaged in that risky behavior. It has been estimated that the average texting experience takes a person’s eyes off the road for five seconds, which at 55 mph is equivalent to traveling 120 yards while essentially blindfolded. That’s more than enough time to change a life forever.

Know what else is scary? At any moment, approximately 660,000 U.S. drivers are using their mobile phone or another electronic device while driving.

In spite increased awareness over recent years, changing laws, and revealing research, that number has remained virtually unchanged since 2010.

New cars come with Bluetooth capabilities, making it even easier to talk hands free. While that addresses one aspect of the problem, your hands are only a small part of what it takes to be a safe driver. Reaction time, judgment, concentration, being generally aware of surroundings – these things are 100% brain. When a person talks with someone, the attention is split between what’s happening on the road and what’s happening in the conversation. Known as “inattention blindness,” it has been estimated that drivers on the phone fail to process up to 50% of the information in their driving environment. Hands-free does not mean scot-free.

Consider:

  • There are about 319 million people in the U.S., and 2.5 million are involved in a car accident each year. Of those, 1.6 million involve a cell phone. That’s 64% of all road accidents.
  • Approximately 421,000 people are injured each year in wrecks involving a distracted driver. Engaging in a text conversation while driving is the distraction responsible in 78% of these crashes.
  • 25% of teens respond to at least one text while driving, every single time they’re behind the wheel.
  • 48% of kids in their younger teenage years have been in a car while the driver was texting. Over 1,600 children in the same age group are killed each year because of crashes involving texters.

Let’s look at it this way: the National Highway & Transportation Administration (NHTSA) reports that the impairments associated with drunk driving and with texting while driving are more similar than you might think. Both can and often do result in following too closely, weaving into oncoming traffic, delayed reaction time, and not braking in time. If a person texts while behind the wheel, they have a 23% higher chance of causing a crash than if they were not texting. The same percentage rings true for someone who has about four beers before getting into the driver’s seat.

Of course, cell phones do so much more than allow for texting and voice conversations. A huge part of their popularity revolves around apps. Motorists who can’t put down their phone are watching videos, emailing, posting to social media, playing games, inputting directions, and more. In the last three years, there have been documented fatal accidents stemming from drivers trying to operate their vehicle while streaming on Facebook live, posting to Facebook, tweeting, and using Snapchat.

While many people don’t want to admit they were on their phone at the time of a wreck, they are quick to say that it’s okay to use their phone while driving.

Turns out, 20% of drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 who were surveyed by NHTSA said texting does not affect their driving. Kids these days, right? Well, guess what: Almost 30% of drivers between the ages of 21 and 34 said texting does not impact their driving. Another poll reports that 77% of adults and 55% of teens claim that they can easily manage texting while driving.

The KY cell phone vehicle wreck lawyer at the Johnson Law Firm believe that those who cause harm to others should be held accountable for their actions. This includes paying compensation to accident victims for medical expenses, lost wages, property loss, pain and suffering, and, in the event of a fatal accident, wrongful death. Based in Pikeville, founding attorney Billy Johnson has made it his life’s work to help people throughout Kentucky. He is a proven advocate with over 15 years of experience who has been named a Super Lawyer by U.S. News & World Report as well as an American Trial Lawyers Association Top 100 trial lawyer. Get started today with a free, no-obligation case review by calling 1-606-437-4488. You can also fill out our online form to discuss the details of your accident and find out your rights.