Smartphones have become an essential tool in contemporary society. They help parents stay in touch with their kids, and they help employers stay in touch with their employees. They let people express their political and social views to people that they might not have otherwise met. Unfortunately, sometimes people contact their loved ones, business associates, and internet acquaintances while they are supposed to be driving. Texting while driving has resulted in many deaths over the years and while very sad, it’s not entirely surprising since we know that problems can arise from distracted driving.
Photo by Peter Fazekas
Accidents with Injuries
Teenaged drivers are at higher risk of having car accidents than their adult counterparts. A shocking 300,000 teens are taken to the emergency room a day for injuries that are the result of car accidents. Combine this with the fact that young people are the most avid texters, and you have a high likely hood of an accident occurring due to texting.
Accidents related to texting are not limited to young people. Older people may not be texting as often, but they are not as handy with phones as are teenagers. Someone who isn’t familiar with their phone might be at a higher risk for an accident.
Deaths Caused by Texting
There were 3,166 people killed by distracted drivers in 2017. Although more often than not, the texter is the one to die, there are often innocent bystanders who lose their lives over texting. Some people have been charged with manslaughter because of texting while driving. A woman in New Jersey was sentenced to ten years in prison as a result of a death when she was texting and operating a vehicle.
Penalties for Texting While Driving
There is no current federal ban on texting while driving. However, 48 states and three territories in the United States have banned texting while driving, and 21 states have banned the use of cell phones while driving altogether. In Canada, Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland/Labrador have prohibited cellphone use while driving as well.
The state of Oregon has the strictest penalties for using a phone while driving, up to $1000 for a first offence. Montana is the most lenient state for texting while driving. It has no penalties for the first offence. In Canada, you could incur up to $578 in fines.
What to do if a Distracted Driver injures you
If you are injured in an accident, you should call the police and wait for them at the scene. Be sure to exchange information with the other driver and take pictures if you can. If there are witnesses who saw the other driver on the phone, be sure to get their names and phone numbers.
Once you report the accident to an insurance company, they will let you know if they are accepting or denying your claim. If they accept the claim, they will make you an offer. Before you accept the offer, you should talk to someone knowledgeable or a personal injury lawyer.
Car accidents can be caused by many things, but texting is the most preventable. If you put your phone away while you drive, you’ll have a better chance of seeing the people you want to talk to in real life.