No one sits behind the wheel intending to become involved in an accident. One of the most common causes of distraction for today’s drivers is one that isn’t going away any time soon: the text message.
It’s difficult for most drivers to resist taking a quick glance at their cell phones now and then. But when that quick glance turns into reading—and responding to—text messages, the driver’s focus drifts away from the road, and the potential for an accident begins to build. A 2009 study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that texting while driving makes a driver 23 times more likely to become involved in an accident. On busy roads and at intersections, when drivers need to be especially attentive to changing traffic conditions, the effect of texting can be lethal.
The problem is exacerbated on highways, where glancing down at a cell phone for as little as five seconds—the typical texting time, according to a University of Utah study—means that a car has had time to drive more than the length of a football field; as noted by The New York Times. That’s more than enough time for something unexpected to happen—something that an inattentive driver will be helpless to respond to.
Texting while driving has been banned in many parts of the country, but 15 states—including Florida—have no specific legal bar against the activity. Even so, laws don’t always have an immediate effect on widespread behavior patterns: Recent studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that banning texting and use of cell phones while driving has not led to any noticeable decline in distraction-related car accidents.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, contact personal injury and accident attorney Michael Barszcz, M.D., J.D. Dr. Barszcz serves clients in the Orlando and the greater Florida community. Call (407) 843-6353 today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.