The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that 660,000 motorists use cell phones while driving. As reported by Bankrate.com, during any given moment, a driver has sent or read a text message while operating a vehicle.
The NHTSA estimates that 400 fatal car accidents occur every year because of texting. Whether sending, reading or writing a text message, it takes a motorist’s attention away from the road.
Texting causes three forms of distraction
According to the NHTSA, text messages create three types of hazardous distractions. The first distraction is visual. A motorist needs to avert his or her eyes from the road to see a text, which creates a visual impairment.
Cognitive distractions include the thoughts resulting from text messages. The mind wanders away from operating a vehicle and over to text content. Finally, messages create manual distractions because motorists must take their hands off the steering wheel to handle a mobile device.
Texting may lead to severe accidents, stiff penalties or lawsuits
The U.S. Department of Transportation notes that reading a text message takes approximately five seconds. During that time, a motorist driving at about 55mph could drive a distance of 360 feet without looking at the road.
Distractions from texting may require motorists to reorient their eyes and attention to the driving conditions. A severe motor vehicle collision could occur while they refocus on the road. A driver could also hit trees, signs or poles.
Drivers found using hand-held electronic devices such as phones, tablets and laptops may face stiff penalties.
To prevent dangerous distractions, Illinois’ statutes allow law enforcement officials to fine motorists $1,000, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.
The NHTSA notes that at least 30,000 vehicle crashes happen every year due to driving while distracted. Texting, however, causes the deadliest collisions. Individuals harmed by distracted drivers may take legal action to recover for damages.