A total of 46 states and the District of Columbia have laws in place that ban texting and driving for all motorists. This includes both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Local police departments and even nationwide organizations have created awareness campaigns and released pages upon pages of facts about distracted driving.
We should all know that reading or sending a text can wait.
So why do we still see so many people staring at their phones on the highway, and why are there still so many texting and driving crashes?
What do the statistics say?
The numbers from the American Automobile Association (AAA), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and other groups about the dangers of distracted driving are staggering. These 11 numbers related to distracted driving will make you rethink reading that text next time you are behind the wheel:
4.6: The number of seconds it takes, on average to read or send a text, according to research conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. While this may not seem like a long time, if you are traveling at 55 miles per hour you will cover more than 100 yards during this time. Imagine driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed; that is what happens when you read that text behind the wheel.
9: The estimated number of people who die every day in the United States due to distracted driving accidents, according to statistics published by NHTSA. Many more suffer devastating, life-changing injuries.
10: The percentage of teen drivers — between the ages of 15 to 19 — who were driving distracted at the time of a fatal crash they caused or contributed to (NHTSA). While percentages of texting and driving crashes are high in other age brackets, this group is the largest. Their inexperience behind the wheel, when combined with distractions such as texting, create a particularly dangerous situation.
18: The percent of all injury crashes that involved a distracted driver in 2014 (NHTSA). Of all police-reported traffic accidents nationwide in 2014, 16 percent were a direct result of distracted driving. Experts, however, believe this number is actually much higher.
23: How much more likely you are to cause or be involved in a crash while sending or reading a text, according to research from AAA. Yes, you read that correctly. Motorists who text and drive see a 23-fold increase in their risk of an accident over drivers who wait until they reach their destination.
27: The number of seconds that drivers remain distracted after using any kind of hands-free technology, reports AAA. Many people falsely believe that hands-free devices make it safer to text or talk while driving, but this research shows that motorists are distracted even when their hands never leave the wheel.
And, perhaps most astonishing of all, the phone use affects things like reaction time and attention span for almost 30 seconds after each text or call.
30: The percent of drivers who admit to texting while driving, according to a study by Erie Insurance. An additional 75 percent say they see others texting while driving every day.
50: The Pennsylvania texting and driving law bans all drivers from texting while driving, allows officers to stop drivers for this offense, and includes a $50 penalty if convicted.
200: The minimum fine you will need to pay if a police officer pulls you over for texting and driving in New Jersey. The state texting and driving law calls for a penalty of between $200 and $800 for motorists who break this law. This does not include court costs or other fines for related offenses.
1,161: The estimated number of people who suffer injuries every day in distracted driving accidents nationwide (NHTSA). Since it is difficult to track the true number of distracted driving crashes, this total could be much higher.
660,000: The number of drivers using their cell phones to talk or send texts at any given moment nationwide, according to NHTSA statistics. This means there are almost 700,000 distracted drivers on America’s roads at all times. The only good news about this statistic is that it is not growing. It has changed very little since 2010.
Liability in a Distracted Driving Accident
Even if you do not text and drive, it can be difficult to avoid an accident caused by a distracted driver. For the most part, the claims following this type of crash are similar to other car accident claims.
Proving liability in a distracted driving accident is sometimes as simple as looking at the police report, but often requires evidence that includes eyewitness testimony, accident reconstruction and subpoenaing phone records.
If you can show the other motorist was texting, talking on the phone, or otherwise distracted at the time of the crash, proving he or she caused the accident is usually much easier.
In some cases, even if your actions contributed to the crash, the distracted driver may be partially liable because his or her distraction prevented him or her from reacting in time to avoid the accident.
Discussing the specific details of your distracted driving accident with an attorney is a good idea before you agree to any type of settlement from the insurance company. If you live in the greater Philadelphia area, Cordisco & Saile LLC is available for free case evaluations.
Cordisco & Saile LLC Can Help After a NJ or PA Distracted Driving Accident
If you suffered serious injuries in a distracted driving crash in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, Cordisco & Saile LLC can help you get the compensation you deserve to cover your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Call our Bucks County, PA, office today at 215-642-2335 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your legal options.