We all know that texting and driving is dangerous, yet many of us still do it. We like to think we can multitask, but a 2021 survey shows that 12.5% of respondents admit to being unable to do it very well.
The danger of texting while driving is widely recognized by drivers, with 96% of those surveyed by AAA believing it poses a grave threat to their safety.
Despite this, 39% of drivers admitted that in the month prior, they had read a text or email while driving—and another 29% admitted to typing while driving.
Distracted driving has become a leading cause of car crashes in the U.S. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), texting and driving drift your eyes away from the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, it can be the equivalent of driving the length of a football field blindfolded.
If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by a texter, Frantz Law Group is here to help. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience necessary to seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Why Texting and Driving is a Concern
Distracted driving involves using a hand-held device like a smartphone to text, answer phone calls, or check social media while behind the wheel. These dangerous driving behaviors often result in motor vehicle crashes where other motorists get severely injured, and other people die.
The dangers of distracted driving involve missing crucial signs or obstacles, running red lights or stop signs, or even swerving into another lane without realizing it.
According to research, electronic device use while driving can severely impair a motorist’s focus, reducing it by up to 37%.
And sending a text on your phone while driving can reduce reaction times as much as if you had consumed four beers in an hour and then got behind the wheel. In other words, texting and driving can be just as hazardous as drunk driving!
AAA also reports that extended use of your phone while driving can cause an extensive delay in recovery time—it could take up to 27 seconds for the driver’s attention and mental focus to get back on the road. This phenomenon is called the “hangover effect”, which can happen even while waiting for the traffic light to turn green.
How Many Driving Accidents Are Caused by Texting and Driving?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 3,000 people were killed in 2019 in accidents involving a distracted driver in the United States. That’s more than eight people per day. And almost 425,000 were injured in crashes because of distracted drivers.
Let the following distracted driving statistics show how fatal this driving behavior is in America:
- In 2019, about 1 in 5 people killed in crashes involving a distracted driver were not even in vehicles; they were pedestrians, cyclists, or outside of a vehicle.
- More than eight people in the United States are killed every day due to reported crashes involving a distracted driver.
- Certain age groups are more susceptible to distracted driving than others—teen drivers, high school students, and young adults are relatively inexperienced and still considered novice drivers
- Texting or emailing while driving was more common among older students than younger ones.
This 2020 data from NHTSA is even more glaring—the report shows cell phone use or texting drivers was a factor in:
- 13% of the distracted driving accidents that resulted in fatalities
- 9% of distracted driving injury crashes, or about 30,000 accidents in total
- 9% of all police-reported distraction-affected crashes, or about 50,0000 casualties in total
Texting and Driving Death Statistics
Every year, a staggering 1.6 million motor vehicle accidents are linked to phone use while driving, according to the National Safety Council (NSC).
Distracted driving was responsible for 3,142 deaths in 2020 alone, with more than 3,000 involving teenagers.
Additionally, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that 14% of fatal crashes are linked to cell phone use.
These figures highlight the severity of distracted driving and call for greater education and stricter enforcement against this behavior.
Texting and Driving Laws
Texting and driving laws vary by state, but all states have enacted legislation aimed at reducing the rate of distracted driving. Here are some of the texting and driving laws from the Governors Highway Safety Association.
As of 2023, 48 states, including Washington D.C., Guam, and U.S. Virgin Islands have outlawed texting while driving for all drivers.
Although no state forbids all cellphone use for all drivers, 36 states and Washington, D.C. prohibit it completely for novice drivers, while 23 states and Washington, D.C. forbid its usage by school bus drivers.
Due to primary enforcement laws, it is illegal for all drivers to use handheld cellphones while driving in 30 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This means that an officer can issue a citation solely based on cellphone usage without any other traffic offense taking place!
In most states, law enforcement officers can pull over a driver they observe violating the texting and driving law.
Except for Connecticut and New Hampshire, all states include at least one category on their police crash report forms to record instances of distracted driving. The Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria (MMUCC) provides suggested best practices to categorize this offense and ensure consistency across all states.
Depending on the severity and frequency of offenses, punishments may include fines and/or points added to a person’s driver’s license.
Sometimes, a driver’s license may be revoked or suspended if multiple infractions occur within a specific period.
California has strict laws regarding cell phones and other electronic communication devices while driving. The state prohibits anyone from reading, writing, or sending text messages while driving.
It is illegal to hold such a device in your hand as you must only operate it with hands-free technology, like apps, speaker phones, or voice command systems.
Furthermore, individuals under 18 years old are prohibited from using cellular devices for any purpose whatsoever.
Yes. Primary law.
All Cell Phone Ban:
School Bus Drivers – Yes. Primary law.
Novice Drivers – Drivers under 18. Secondary law.
Text Messaging Ban:
All drivers. Primary law.
How Texting and Driving Tickets Affect Car Insurance Rates
When calculating car insurance rates, insurance companies consider several risk factors. Your location, the type of car you own, your past driving, and your claims history all come into play.
Generally, those caught texting while driving or behaving recklessly on the road pay more than drivers with pristine records.
If you get pulled over for texting while driving, that ticket or fine on your record could significantly impact the cost of your car insurance. Depending on the severity of the offense, this rate could increase substantially.
Insurance premiums have also increased substantially across the board due to the prevalence of texting and driving. Estimates place the total premium surcharge range at 6-8%, meaning that every insured person is paying an additional fee due to this dangerous behavior on the road.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles further notes that texting while driving can lead to higher insurance rates.
If You’re a Victim of Distracted Driving, You May Be Entitled to Compensation
If you or a loved one has been a victim of distracted driving, you may be entitled to compensation. A staggering number of car accidents are caused by drivers texting and driving, and the resulting injuries can be both painful and costly.
So if you have suffered a loss due to another driver’s negligence, it’s important to seek legal advice from a qualified personal injury attorney.
At Frantz Law Group, our experienced attorneys are dedicated to pursuing justice for those injured in auto accidents due to distracted driving. Our team comprises experienced trial lawyers with in-depth knowledge of California auto accident law and is committed to obtaining financial compensation for our client’s losses.
We understand the physical, emotional, and financial hardships associated with an accident caused by distracted driving, and we proudly assist our clients on their path toward recovery.
We’re here to help you navigate this complex process from start to finish so that you can focus on healing without having the added stress of dealing with legal matters.
Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about your rights following an auto accident involving distracted driving.