Distracted Driving-  The Dangers of Texting while Driving SgarlatoAny type of distracted driving has the potential to lead to a motor vehicle accident event, but texting while driving accidents appear to be on the rise. And, make no mistake, there is a common misconception that this is a teen driving problem when there are just as many adult drivers who text while driving. This is a very serious issue on the nation’s roadways that needs more attention and awareness.

While there are many state’s that have now made it illegal to text while driving, there are many that have not. In the state’s that have made this an illegal act, if a driver causes an accident while driving and texting that results in death, the driver may face charges that include voluntary manslaughter charges.

Furthermore, many teens have been charged as adults in accidents resulting in death from texting while driving. In New York State, it is absolutely illegal to text while driving. Texting while driving is both careless and deadly; see below for a few statistics on just how deadly it is to text while driving.

National Statistics – It’s Not Just Teenagers

According to 2012 statistics available on Distraction.gov:

  • There were 3,328 people who lost their lives to a distracted driving related car accident.
  • There was an estimated 421,000 people that suffered an injury in an accident that involved the carelessness of a distracted driver.
  • Of all the drivers under the age of 20 who were involved in fatality related motor vehicle crashes, 10% were distracted before the accident.
  • 27% of distracted drivers involved in fatal car crashes are in their 20s.
  • When you take your eyes off of the road to send a text message, it is estimated that 5 seconds is the average length of time that you’re not watching the road. If you’re traveling at a 55mph rate of speed while texting, 5 seconds is enough time to cover the entire length of a football field.

Here’s a few more statistics:

  • 9 people lose their lives every day due to distracted driving.
  • 1,060 people are injured every day due to distracted driving.
  • According to a 2011 data survey, 30% of drivers in the United States between the ages of 18 and 64 admitted to texting or reading text messages and/or email while driving.
  • 50% of Americans believe that the punishment for texting while driving should be equivalent to that of drunk-driving.
  • From 2005-2011, in New York State alone, the number of accidents related to cell phone use has increased by 143%.

New York Texting While Driving Statistics and DMV Laws

The first offense in New York constitutes the minimum fine of $50 and the maximum fine of $150. For a second offense that occurs within just 18 months of the first offense, the maximum fine increases to $200. With a third offense, the fine increases to $400. A New York driver can also expect to accumulate 5 points for each violation for texting while driving with the DMV.

How to Stop It

The only way to “stop” it is to prevent it by raising awareness and for tickets to be issued to drivers caught texting while driving. Many people caught using their cellphones always have a good “excuse” for using their cell phones while driving, but there really is no excuse. It can wait. There is no excuse that could justify committing an act that has the potential to inadvertently lead to the death of yourself or someone else.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver who was busy sending or reading text messages while driving, contact a personal injury lawyer at the law firm of Sgarlato & Sgarlato today.