Texting While Driving is Not Safe
On June 29th, 2007, Apple released it’s iPhone to the general public. People stood
in line for hours to be the first to put down $400 (plus an additional thousand dollars or so for a two year AT&T contract) and come away with the latest in cell phone technology.
The iPhone is certainly that. Calling the iPhone “just a phone” would be similar to calling the Lunar Rover “just a car.” While you would be technically correct, you would be missing a great deal of perspective. It has an amazing touch screen that makes dialing or finding a phone number a breeze, and even with that particular innovation, making phone calls on the iPhone is the least of its capabilities.
It has the same storage capabilities as an iPod, which means that you can use it to listen to music as well as watch movies, television shows or music videos. It also has remarkable internet connectivity, and the interface is practically identical to and as easy to use as the interface on your laptop or desk computer.
Text messages are also remarkably easy to create and send, which means that people will be able to send more texts in less time.
These are all great innovations, and we find it exciting that this phone is capable of so much. But until Apple comes out with a phone that can do all of these things as well as automatically drive your car for you, we think that the iPhone is going to be a lot more dangerous for people on our roads.
The dangers of talking on the phone are pretty well established. Every one has heard the statistics and read the reports, and some areas (like Washington, D.C.) have even established laws against driving while using a hand held phone. But as cell phones have more and more separate functions, the use of the devices change.
For those of you with teenagers, you are probably well versed in texting. For those of you that aren’t, this is where messages are tapped out using the keys on the phone. These messages are then sent to a friend or relatives cell phone. Because it can be cumbersome to type large words on the small keys of the phone, a sort of acronym-filled language has evolved to save time. For instance, “LOL” means “Laughing Out Loud,” or “BTW” means “By the way.”
Believe it or not, a great number of teenagers are not only talking on the phone while driving, but also sending text messages while driving. According to a poll done by AAA and Seventeen magazine, 46% of the 1000 teens that were surveyed admit to text messaging while driving. This involves keeping only one hand on the steering wheel, as well as keeping an eye on both the screen and the keypad of the phone. Imagine trying to punch in a note to a friend while you are behind the wheel of a car that is moving at sixty miles an hour.
The results of this practice were tragically and clearly illustrated in New York on June 26th of this year:
Five teens, on their way to a vacation home Tuesday night, were in a sport utility vehicle that had just passed a van on a two-lane highway when it swerved back into oncoming traffic and hit a tractor-trailer. All were killed in the fiery crash, which four friends traveling in another car witnessed. – ABC News
Less than a month later, Sheriff Phil Povero listed text messaging while driving as a possible reason for the crash:
"The records indicate her phone was in use," Povero said. "We will never be able to clearly state that she was the one doing the text messaging. ...
"We all certainly know that cell phones are a distraction and could be a contributing factor in this accident," he added.
It would seem to be an obvious solution to make texting while driving illegal, and it would also be prudent to make cell phone safety a mandatory part of driver education.
As personal injury attorneys, we routinely help injury victims get their lives back on track, and in many cases that means helping those who have been in car accidents. Many of our clients were injured because a driver was engaging in negligent driving practices, which means that they were talking on the phone, or driving while intoxicated, or doing everything except what they should have been doing, which is keeping their eyes on the road. Texting while driving is another absurd example of this practice, and making it against the law should certainly be a priority.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact our law offices for a free consultation today.