According to crash statistics available from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving continues to be an ongoing issue throughout the U.S. Recent data from the NHTSA indicates a steady, nationwide increase in incidents of text messaging while driving, despite laws prohibiting the same.
Meanwhile, a new report by US Mobile Data Market, Update Q3 2012, suggests that there has been a drop in the number of texts sent each month by users via cell phone, from an average of 699 texts sent during the second quarter of 2012, to just 678 in the third quarter. While some safe driving advocates lauded the drop as a potential indicator that texting-while-driving laws were influencing behavior, the information in the US Mobile report does not drill down enough to indicate which texts were sent via a potentially distracted driver and which were sent in other situations.
According to NHTSA data, there were more than 416,000 car crash injuries and more than 3,000 car crash fatalities in 2010 due to distracted drivers. The NHTSA report also notes an increase from 2009 to 211 by 50 percent in the number of sent text messages.
Texting only seems to be picking up. A survey by the International Association for the Wireless Telecommunications Industry states that text messaging is only growing: 2.206 trillion texts were sent in 2011 and 2.273 trillion (and counting) texts have been sent by late 2012.
The issue with texting during driving is one of distraction. Texting takes enough attention away from the road – researchers believe texting while driving reduces brain activity by some 37 percent and reduces attention by as much as 50 percent, according to the NHTSA. Studies by the federal government show that human error such as distracted driving, is now the leading cause of car accidents nationwide. In 2010, more than 3,000 people in the U.S. were killed in distracted driver car accidents.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has been pushing for more public education on the dangers of texting behind the wheel, from pushing for a ban, now enforced, which forbids commercial drivers to text or use their cell phone while driving, to advocating for tougher laws and penalties for distracted drivers, to launching http://www.distraction.gov, a website devoted to getting the public to “commit to distraction-free driving.”
Nathan Williams is a Brunswick personal injury lawyer, Brunswick divorce attorney, criminal defense and Brunswick DUI lawyer in Southeast Georgia. Visit http://www.thewilliamslitigationgroup.com or call 1.912.264.0848.