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The real danger of texting behind the wheel

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Texting has been popular since before the smartphone was invented, but smartphones have helped to make it into the number one way that many people communicate. Some people are so focused on this communication that they’ll even do it while they’re driving, despite the rise of laws making this illegal in many parts of the United States. This causes a significant amount of danger for other drivers and pedestrians.

According to numbers that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gathered back in 2012, 18 percent of all of the deadly crashes for the year were linked to driver distraction — such as texting and driving. A total of 3,328 people were killed in these accidents. Additionally, about 421,000 people were injured in crashes with distracted drivers.

When asked, about 40 percent of teens in the United States said they’d been riding in a car with a driver who was putting his or her passengers in danger due to the use of a cell phone. This goes beyond just texting and could also include taking pictures or browsing the Internet.

To see just how dangerous this practice is, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute investigated and found that the risk of an accident is 23 times higher when a driver is texting than when the driver is not distracted.

When drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 crashed and were asked about mobile phone usage, 11 percent said they were getting or sending text messages at the time of the accident. The true number could be higher if some drivers simply refused to admit it.

Those who have been hurt by inattentive drivers who were texting and not watching the road in New York may be able to seek compensation.

Source: Federal Communications Commission, “The Dangers of Texting While Driving,” accessed July 08, 2016

Jason Fuiman

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Co-Managing Partner and Chair of O'Dwyer & Bernstien's Labor & Employee Benefits practice, Jason has over twenty years of experience in the New York legal industry.