When you leave the house, do you automatically reach for your cell phone? If so, you’re not alone. The popularity of mobile phones has only grown in recent years. According to Pew Research Center, 95 percent of Americans own a cell phone as of 2017. About 77 percent of U.S. residents own a smartphone. By contrast, just 35 percent of people owned a smartphone in 2011. In a relatively short period of time, cell phones have gone from a novelty to something most people won’t leave home without. Among the 18- to 29-year-old demographic, Pew Research reports that 100 percent of individuals in this age range own a cell phone.
Cell phones may be convenient, but they come with a serious downside. As the popularity of mobile devices has grown, the number of texting and driving accidents has gone up. Distracted driving is a serious problem that has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. The statistics associated with texting and driving are startling.
Important Stats about Texting and Driving
While distracted driving can take many forms, texting and driving is most closely associated with distractions behind the wheel. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving killed 3,477 people in 2015 alone. Another 391,000 people were injured by distracted driving the same year.
Even more alarming, the NHTSA estimates that at any given moment in the U.S. during the day, approximately 660,000 motorists are using a cell phone while they drive. “That creates enormous potential for deaths and injuries on U.S. roads.”
While texting and driving affects every age group, the NHTSA notes that teen drivers are more likely to text and drive. Teens also represent that highest number of deaths and injuries associated with texting and driving. Specifically, cell phone use is highest among the 16- to 24-year-old demographic and lowest among drivers age 70 and over. Cell phone use behind the wheel is also more common among female drivers than male drivers.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also reports that more than eight people are killed and 1,161 are injured every day due to distracted driving.
How to Decrease Texting and Driving Deaths and Injuries
Fortunately, there are ways to lower the numbers of distracted drivers, as well as injuries and deaths caused by texting and driving. The FCC gives the following tips to motorists, parents, and pedestrians.
Teach Young Drivers to Say No to Texting and Driving
If you’re a parent, guardian, or caregiver of a young person who is just learning how to drive, it’s important to discuss the importance of putting the phone down while you drive. The federal government’s “It Can Wait” campaign aims to warn young motorists about the serious dangers associated with texting and driving. As an adult, it’s also important to model good behavior in front of teen drivers by turning your phone off when you get behind the wheel says Philadelphia personal injury lawyer Rand Spear.
Know the Laws in Your State
As the FCC states, there is no national ban on texting and driving or the use of a cell phone behind the wheel. However, each state has its own laws for texting and driving, as well as cell phone use. In some jurisdictions, it’s permissible to talk on a hands-free device, but it’s illegal to speak on a handheld cell phone. In other states, the law prohibits drivers under a certain age from texting and driving or using a handheld device.
Know what the law says in your state and take steps to ensure you follow the rules. Even if your jurisdiction allows the use of a cell phone while driving, it’s safer to wait until you get to your destination before taking a call or sending or reading a text.
Put Your Phone Out of Reach
As the old saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind.” If you can’t see your phone while you’re driving, you’re less likely to notice if you receive a text or call. In turn, you’ll also be less likely to reach for it. Some motorists even go so far as to put their phone in the backseat, a purse, or even the trunk. Do whatever it takes to make sure you’re not tempted to grab your phone when a notification comes through.
Use an App to Block Calls and Texts
There are also a host of third-party apps that allow you to block incoming texts, calls, and emails while you’re driving. Even better, most of these apps are free to download. Several apps also send an automatic notification to the sender to let them know you are driving and can’t take their call or read their text or email. You can try a few different apps to find which one best suits your needs.
Contact a Philadelphia Burn Injury Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one has been injured by a product or toy that caught fire, get in touch with a Pennsylvania burn injury lawyer right away. Contact Philadelphia and New Jersey burn injury lawyer Rand Spear today at 877-GET-RAND.