On behalf of Jeff Antin of Antin, Ehrlich & Epstein, LLP, Attorneys at Law posted in Distracted Drivers on Monday, December 9, 2013.
There is no question that using electronic devices while driving is dangerous; however, Manhattan residents continue to do so. According to a survey conducted by State Farm, 76 percent of those reviewed said that they believed that texting while driving was distracting. However, the study indicated that while five years ago 13 percent of individuals admitted to using their smartphone while behind the wheel, this year that number nearly doubled to 25 percent.
According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, taking a supposedly quick peek at your phone to read or send a text message takes nearly 5 seconds. A state patrolman points out that this dangerous behavior is no different than closing your eyes for five seconds, something that likely all would agree is highly unsafe. To put this into perspective, sources indicate that one can drive the entire distance of a football field, going 55 miles per hour, in approximately 5 seconds.
Every year approximately 56,000 accidents occur as a result of fatigued drivers operating a motor vehicle. Following those accidents, nearly 3 percent of individuals involved lose their lives and over 71 percent walk away with injuries. By highlighting the consequences of driver fatigue and how similar it is to texting while driving, these agencies hope to elicit a positive change in attitude.
While using a smartphone when driving is often associated with a younger generation, the incident rates are increasing among all age groups. To date, only about a quarter of all drivers don’t own a smartphone, according to State Farm’s survey. While at least 39 states have prohibited browsing the Internet and texting while driving, responsible use of mobile devices by motorists continues to be an issue.
Source: StarTribune, “The Drive: Web-surfing drivers may as well sleep at the wheel,” Tim Harlow, Nov. 17, 2013