For many Americans, text messaging is their main mode of communication. Unfortunately, texting while driving is also a very popular pastime. In fact, in a statement made by the National Safety Council in 2010, “28 percent of all traffic crashes involved drivers talking on their cell phones or texting.” That breaks down to a shocking 1.6 million crashes per year.
You may also know that texting while driving not only leads to accidents, but is also against the law in 37 states and Washington D.C. Simply put, even taking your eyes off the road for a second to send a quick response is dangerous, illegal and unnecessary. Because of the rise in text-related accidents, the U.S. Department of Transportation has called for a complete ban on cell phone use by drivers.
Did you know that you can be found guilty of negligence if a court determines that it was your texting that caused the accident? With that in mind, here are some helpful tips from FindLaw.com on how to avoid all kinds of distracted driving:
- Resist Temptation: Turn off your phone and put it out of reach while you're driving.
- Make Adjustments Before Starting Your Engine: There is no need to configure your GPS or setup your iPod while driving. These actions are unnecessary distractions that can be avoided by setting everything up before you start driving. If you get lost then pull over and look at your map from the safety of the side of the road or gas station. If you are traveling with a passenger, then ask them to take charge of the electronics so that you can concentrate on the road.
- Know the Law: Many new or novice drivers may not be aware of the many cell phone and texting laws out there. Additionally, if you are traveling to another state, make sure to familiarize yourself with the state and local laws.
- Avoid Other Distractions: Texting while driving is certainly the most discussed distraction right now, but there are many other activities that drivers do in their car that cause distractions. Applying makeup, eating and dealing with a pet are all things that can serve to distract you from your main purpose while in the car -- safe driving.
We hope you share these tips with your family and friends and avoid any type of driving distraction next time you are out. Safe driving everyone!
-- Michelle Croteau, Director of Marketing Communications
with Laura Strachan, FindLaw Audience Team