We've all heard the warnings about the dangers of texting and driving. Here in New York, the use of a handheld device for talking or texting is illegal. Unfortunately, however, some drivers nonetheless make it a habit to text while behind the wheel.
Teens are often the ones with the worst reputation for texting and driving. Texting while driving causes even more fatalities than drunk driving for this age group. About 3,000 teens are killed every year in crashes involving texting.
However, drivers of all ages are guilty of this dangerous practice. Nearly 50 percent of respondents admitted to texting while driving in one survey.
Just how dangerous is it? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that on average, a driver who's texting takes their eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds. That's the length of time it would take to drive between end zones on a football field. When that distance is a road filled with cars, bikes and pedestrians, the possibility for carnage is very real.
When the texting driver is behind the wheel of a truck or other large vehicle, the potential for serious and fatal injuries is even greater. While truck drivers aren't necessarily more likely to be texting behind the wheel than other drivers, their chances of being involved in a crash while texting are 23 times greater than other drivers'.
There's not much you can do when you see other drivers texting behind the wheel besides keeping your distance from them. However, by refraining from texting and all forms of distracted driving, you will be more alert and able to spot other drivers who may be drifting into your lane or ignoring traffic signs and lights because their eyes and mind are on their phones.
If you're injured in a crash caused by another driver, it's easy for law enforcement to determine whether that driver was using their phone in the seconds leading up to the crash. Evidence of texting or talking on the phone while driving can help you if you take legal action against the at-fault driver to seek compensation for expenses and damages. Your attorney can provide more information and guidance.