A new study shows that states with bans on texting while driving saw an average four percent reduction in emergency room visits for motor vehicle accidents.
Texting Laws Reduce Crash Injuries
Researchers for The American Journal of Public Health studied emergency department data for 16 states from 2007 to 2014. The states were chosen based on the availability of information about motor vehicle accident injuries for which emergency room treatment was needed.
47 out of 50 states currently have laws restricting texting while driving. Of the 16 states examined in the study, only one (Arizona) did not have one of these laws.
There are two types of laws banning texting while driving. Primary laws are those in which drivers can be pulled over for texting regardless of whether another traffic violation has taken place. Secondary laws are those in which drivers can be ticketed for texting only after another violation has taken place, such as running a red light or speeding. Some states only sanction new drivers, while others implement the texting ban on all drivers.
The study found that states with texting bans, regardless of the type of ban or to whom it was applied, saw a 4 percent average reduction in emergency room visits, an equivalent of 1,632 traffic-related emergency room visits per year. States that implemented primary bans on texting for all drivers saw an 8 percent reduction in crash-related injuries.
The Dangers of Texting While Driving
Texting is a common activity in the United States. According to a recent Gallup poll, sending and receiving text messages has become the most prevalent form of communication for Americans younger than 50, with an average of 32 texts per American per day. We engage in the activity in virtually every setting: at work, at home, during meals and leisure time, and – most dangerously – while driving.
Sending texts while driving, even short ones, can be extremely reckless because the activity distracts a driver’s attention from the main task at hand. For example, at 60 miles per hour, a motor vehicle travels 88 feet per second. If you take four seconds to write a text message while driving at that speed, you will travel nearly the length of a football field without your eyes on the road – placing everyone in your path, and in your vehicle, in grave danger.
While any activity that distracts a driver’s attention – such as adjusting the radio, eating, or looking at billboards – is risky, texting is perhaps the most dangerous because it involves all three types of driver distraction. Texting while driving:
- Takes the driver’s hands off of the steering wheel;
- Takes the driver’s eyes off of the road; and
- Takes the driver’s mind off of driving.
With such a high level of distraction, it is no wonder why texting while driving is so hazardous. In fact, the Illinois Department of Transportation alleges that texting while driving is four times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated.
Illinois Texting-and-Driving Accident Attorneys
If you have been seriously injured in an auto accident because of a negligent driver, consider enlisting an experienced, knowledgeable attorney to help you obtain the financial compensation, and the justice, that you deserve, such as the Illinois texting-and-driving accident attorneys at GWC Law.
With over $2 billion recovered for our clients and offices throughout the state, GWC is one of the premier Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firms in Illinois.