Texting while driving has become a national epidemic. In terms of the number of crashes that it has caused, it is as bad as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Even if the texting is related to work, the cost is always much greater than any benefit. The combination of safety fines, court costs, attorney fees, civil suits, personal property damage, and insurance loss can bankrupt a distracted driver.
Texting takes a minimum of five seconds away from the road. Yet extensive studies have shown that the average driver can look away from the road no more than two seconds before the situation becomes dangerous. Some experts would like to call the problem “webbing.” This may be for work, social or entertainment reasons, but it all adds up to a dangerous distraction.
When texting or webbing, the driver’s eyes, hands, and mind are not focused on the task of driving. Those seconds or minutes away from the road are what makes distracted driving lethal. Webbing includes:
-surfing the Internet on your phone or tablet
-using social media such as Facebook or Twitter
-retrieving, reading and responding to emails
-watching videos, tv shows, and/or movies
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other statistic-gatherers have reported that crashes, deaths, and injuries attributed to this problem have grown every year.
-3,154 people died as a result of distracted driving in 2013
-424,000 people were injured due to a distracted driver in 2013
-341,000 crashes were attributed to distracted driving in 2013
-At a minimum, 1 in 4 crashes is due to the driver’s use of a phone
-Talking on the phone makes crashes four times more likely
-Texting or webbing makes crashes 23 times more likely
-660,000 drivers are endangering others at any given moment due to phone use
Since smartphone use is easily monitored, it is simple for courts to prove if the driver was distracted at the time of the crash. About 40 states outlaw texting while driving. Whether it is against the law or not, the accused driver may face a legal battle. This means spending thousands of dollars in court costs and attorney fees. It may even mean jail time. Costs can quickly add up to $10,000 or more.
-Attorney Fees, $5,000
-Court Costs, $2,000
-Court Fines, $2,000
-Loss of driver’s license
-Lost work time due to court case, personal injuries, jail time
-Lost job due to conviction
The driver may also be forced to pay attorney fees to defend against civil lawsuits. Insurance companies may refuse to pay if the driver is convicted of distracted driving. This may leave the driver with huge bills for their own property loss as well as that of the other driver. Courts are becoming more and more favorable toward the plaintiff when the defendant has been proven negligent due to distracted driving. A civil suit could bankrupt the distracted driver.
Clearly the cost of texting and driving far outweighs any value to the driver. It is far cheaper to turn off the phone or put it in the glove compartment. Waiting to check messages costs a little time, but it won’t cause injuries, take a life, or ruin the driver’s future.
Natale’s Auto Service Center is family owned and operated. Customer service is our number one priority and we strive to produce the highest level of quality automotive service that the peninsula has to offer.