Texting While Driving

One of the Most Dangerous Forms of Driver Distraction

Distracted driving claims lives and causes extensive property damage. Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous forms of driver distraction, as it affects all three areas of a driver's attention: visual, mental and physical.

  • Visual Attention – to read or compose a text message, a driver will need to look at the phone. This takes his or her visual attention off the road. Even looking down at a phone for just a moment may mean that a driver will not notice an obstacle in the road, a light that has just turned red or a vehicle in front of them that has slowed or stopped. A driver who is not looking at the road may veer out of his or her lane and into another vehicle or off the road. The results may be catastrophic.
  • Mental Attention – an important part of driving safely is keeping one's mental attention on the task at hand. You need to be aware of your surroundings, where you are going and what other drivers are doing. When texting, some portion of the driver's attention will be on the text message instead of the road. It may be a large or small amount of their attention, but in any scenario it may have serious repercussions. A driver may accidentally take a wrong turn and may try to correct it, may miss a sign that says to slow down for a school zone or may make a similarly dangerous mistake.
  • Physical Attention – a driver should have both hands on the steering wheel and his or her foot on the brake or gas pedal. This is essential to avoid a delayed reaction to an emergency situation and to ensure that the driver is in full control of the vehicle. Texting is particularly dangerous because a driver may require one or both hands to compose a message or to read a text. A texting driver may therefore lose control of the vehicle or may not be able to respond in time to a curve in the road or an obstacle ahead.

Texting while driving is a serious problem, leading to legislation in a number of states that has banned this practice. According to the American Automobile Association, nearly 50% of teens admit to texting while driving. Whether it is an adult or a teenager who is the culprit, texting while driving may place everyone in the area at risk: other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicycle riders. Some even compare texting as dangerous as drinking and driving.

Texting is convenient, but it can be hazardous while driving. Click here to find a car accident attorney in your area for legal help if you or someone you know has been injured in an accident caused by or involving a driver who was texting.