Texting and Driving: More Dangerous than you think | Charleston personal injury attorneys

Over the last few years, text messaging while driving has become the leading cause of teenage driving fatalities – even more than drunk driving. Most people are aware of the danger that comes with texting and driving but what most people don’t know is that even hands-free texting can be risky.

Hands-free systems gained popularity as an alternative to text-messaging because they claimed to be “safer,” allowing drivers to keep their eyes on the road. However, a recent study conducted by AAA demonstrated that even though drivers are able to watch the road, the level of driver distraction did not decrease because voice commands actually require a higher level of cognitive engagement. Speech-to-text systems enable drivers to send, scroll through or delete texts, which necessitates a greater concentration than merely talking on the phone or talking to another passenger. Click here to read more about AAA’s study and the repercussions of distracted driving.

The University of Utah has also gained notoriety for a series of studies pertaining to the level of distraction involved with texting and driving. A 2009 study concluded that driving participants that were engaged in more than one task at a time “responded more slowly to the onset of braking lights and showed impairments in forward and lateral control.” Quite obviously, drivers who texted were involved in more collisions than those who did not during the simulated driving segment of the study. To read about the 2009 University of Utah study and view statistics, click here.

As research and publicity of the texting-while-driving issue increases, so do the penalties. Most states have already passed or are working on passing hands-free legislation, and now there may also be more severe civil penalties for those who cause collisions while using their phone. Beginning around 2010, civil liability increased as courts across the country began to allow plaintiffs to recover not only compensatory, but also punitive damages in texting-while-driving cases. In April of this year, a Florida attorney’s motion to seek punitive damages in a texting-while-driving case was granted, making it a landmark case for Palm Beach County. You can read a full article on the attorney and his arguments, here.

In our area, local businesses are pitching in to prevent texting while driving, especially among teenagers. West Ashley High School recently received 1,000 free sandwiches from a local Subway to award teenagers who took the “W8 2 TXT” pledge, promising not to text and drive. Click here for the full article from West Ashley’s newspaper, West Of.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, contact Miller|Conway, Charleston Personal Injury Attorneys immediately to set up a consultation. You can reach us via phone at 843.764.3334, like us on facebook, follow us on twitter, or visit the firm’s website for more information.