By David Peel
As an injury attorney, I see the effects of catastrophic injuries that are caused by car accidents every day. Texting while driving is adding to that carnage.
The problem is widespread. Almost half of all Americans now own smartphones that support texting. And, most of us have texted without any harm at times. That reinforces our bad behavior. Texting is much worse than most of us ever realized.
Texting while driving makes one 23 times more likely to be in an accident. It is like being a drunk driver.
On average, you take your eyes off the road for five (5) full seconds to text. At just 60 miles per hour, that is 88 feet per second or 440 feet! That is the length of a football field and a half! Certainly, that is more than enough time for a car, a deer or even a little child to “appear out of nowhere.”
Texting is much more dangerous than merely talking on a cell phone while driving. To text requires three discrete processes: Cognitive (thinking), Manual (finger use), and Visual (seeing). Contrast that with cell phone use, especially hands-free calling, which is Cognitive and Auditory (hearing). Because hands remain on the wheel and eyes can remain on the road, it is safer, though still not recommended.
This is why many States, including Tennessee, now ban texting and driving, but do allow cell phone use.
T.C.A. § 55–8–199 provides: “No person while driving a motor vehicle on any public road or highway shall use a hand-held mobile telephone or a hand-held personal digital assistant to transmit or read a written message; provided, that a driver does not transmit or read a written message for the purpose of this subsection (b) if the driver reads, selects or enters a telephone number or name in a hand-held mobile telephone or a personal digital assistant for the purpose of making or receiving a telephone call.”
It is becoming common in my cases for both sides to seek the phone records of the other driver in car accident cases. Since the phone company usually preserves texts, every word (or abbreviation) will one day be discussed in court.
Imagine looking across the courtroom at a family devastated by loss, and an injury lawyer like me displays on power point your last text before the impact: “LOL.”
Car accidents can happen to even careful drivers.
I commend to you the website set up by AT&T called www.ItCanWait.com for more information.
Please talk to your teens about this important subject!
Peel seeks justice for those injured in car accidents, work place incidents, medical malpractice, and nursing homes. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Peel may be reached through PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed.