Deadly Distractions Cost Drivers Their Lives

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Madeleine Jones
August 8, 2016

Texting While Driving Sends a Deadly Message

In 2014, Americans sent 169.3 billion text messages every month. By 2015, that number had risen to nearly 6 billion per day. On average, it takes an individual 5 seconds to send a text message. If a motorist does this while driving at 55 MPH, they will cover a distance of 300 feet before their eyes return to the road.

Because the danger of texting while driving is inherently clear, the State of Nevada prohibits texting while driving. The state also bans the use of cell phones, however, may still utilize hands-free devices. Drivers who violate these prohibitions face misdemeanor charges and fines for their first offense. These fines and the number of points assessed to drivers increase based on the number of subsequent violations. In Nevada, texting or talking on a handheld device became illegal on January 1, 2012. Today, 44 states have laws making it illegal to text while operating a motor vehicle. If you or a family member was seriously injured in car accident, or you lost a loved one, call a Las Vegas car accident attorney at Cogburn Law Offices today for a free case consultation.

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Distracted Driving Infographic

Driver distraction is a growing problem and smartphones provide ample opportunities for driver’s to take their attention from the road. In 2011, only 52% of Americans owned a smartphone. By 2014, that number had grown to 68%. Thus, more motorists than ever before can access videos, emails, social media, and website while they are driving. In fact, it is estimated that at any moment throughout the day, approximately 660,000 motorists are utilizing electronic devices while driving.

Motorists in their 20’s represent 23% of drivers who are involved in fatal car accidents. They represent 27% of distracted drivers who cause fatal accidents and 38% of drivers who cause fatal crashes while using their cell phones.

Equally alarming are studies that show teenage cell phone usage while driving is increasing. In 2015, it was estimated that 35% of teenage drivers admit sending or receiving texts while driving. It’s a growing concern as teenage cell phone ownership now exceeds 82%.

It’s an alarming concern that comes in the wake of a 2011 CDC study which showed 31% of motorists between the ages of 18 to 64 had sent or read a text message while driving. Indeed, it’s clear that while the risk and dangers are well known, many people are choosing to ignore the clear and present danger texting or talking while driving creates.

Drivers who text while driving are six times more likely to cause an accident than a drunk driver. In fact, the number of accidents caused by distracted drivers is rapidly eclipsing the number of accidents caused by alcohol or drugs.

Other Distractions are Equally as Dangerous

Other distractions are just as dangerous as texting or talking on the phone while driving. These distractions include:

    • Eating or drinking
    • Conversing with passengers
    • Applying makeup or other grooming activities
    • Reading books or billboards along the road
    • Adjusting radio/temperature controls
    • Utilizing navigation systems
    • “Rubbernecking” automobile accidents
  • Changing or adjusting clothing

Our Las Vegas personal injury lawyers caution that anything that takes a drivers visual, manual, or cognitive focus away from the road is a dangerous distraction. The momentary lapse in concentration can cause a driver’s vehicle to veer off the road, careen into pedestrians, or collide with vehicles traveling in the roadway.

Distracted Driving is a Deadly Problem & Nevada is Cracking Down

In the United States, distracted driving causes an average of 8 fatalities each and every day. It causes a further 1,161 injuries. In 2013, distracted driving was responsible for causing 18% of injury accidents. By 2015, that number had risen to 25%.

Distractions such as talking or texting can reduce a driver’s focus on the road by a whopping 37%. This significantly impairs a driver’s ability to respond to changing road conditions, obstructions in the roadway, pedestrians, or other vehicles in their path.

In Nevada, law enforcement is cracking down on distracted driving in an effort to reduce the number of fatalities it causes. In 2012, law enforcement issued 12,000 distracted driving citations to offenders. Of these, only 55 citations were issued to repeat offenders. These efforts were undertaken under the Nevada Department of Transportation’s “Zero Fatalities” program aimed at eliminating the nearly 3,500 distracted driving accidents that occur in the state each year.

Alarmingly, statistics show that in 2014, fatality rates started to rise, with 284 individuals dying on Nevada roads. That was up from 267 in 2013. The number again climbed in 2015 with 321 individuals losing their lives. Given these increases, it’s clear that Nevada drivers are still learning that distracted driving is a deadly problem that impacts everyone in the state.