July 27th, 2020|
Every driver has heard about the dangers of texting and driving. The statistics speak volumes about the risks we introduce when we look at our mobile devices behind the wheel. Maybe you’ve heard a few of the following:
- Typing or reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for at least 5 seconds. For a driver traveling at 55 mph, that’s the equivalent of traveling the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
- For every 100 drivers, 20 are distracted 5 to 10% of the time and 10 drivers are distracted 15 to 20% of the time.
- According to a survey from DriversEd.com, 41% of drivers admitted to reading texts while stuck in traffic, and 11% admitted to texting while moving in traffic.
The reason you see endless reminders about the dangers of texting and driving is the same reason we’re discussing this important topic today: Seeing these numbers might just prevent someone from reaching for their phone the next time they’re driving.
Knowing the Actual Number of Texting and Driving Deaths Is Difficult
Before we dive into some more numbers, let’s preface what follows by stating that there’s no way of knowing exactly how many deaths or injuries are caused by texting while driving, for reasons we’ll discuss below.
Safety advocates always say that statistics of distraction-related crashes likely underestimate the actual numbers. So, as you read the statistics, remember that the problem is probably far greater than indicated.
How Many People in the U.S. Die Every Day in Distracted Driving Accidents?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that each day in the U.S., approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. The Insurance Information Institute estimates that 9% of all fatal crashes in the U.S. are caused by distraction (based on figures from 2017).
Why the Numbers Are Probably Much Higher
Safety advocates like those at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Safety Council (NSC) talk at length about the limitations of crash reports. Data relies primarily on police reports, which presents several challenges.
First, if a distracted driver causes a crash, a reporting police officer might not know the driver was texting or distracted in some other way unless the driver, victim, or witness mentions it to the officer.
Second, not all crash reports that police are required to fill out have available fields for distraction, so even if an officer knows that distraction was the cause, they might label the cause of the crash as “other.”
A review by the NSC indicates that 26 states in the U.S. lack crash report fields to capture texting, while 32 states lack fields to capture hands-free phone use.
What Does It All Mean for Crash Victims?
The fact that calculating the actual number of distraction-related crashes is so hard shouldn’t deter victims of bad drivers from filing claims after an accident. In some cases, an attorney representing the injured person can prove the driver was distracted.
Even if an attorney can’t prove that the at-fault driver was distracted, they can still prove the driver was negligent. For example, if a driver who is texting while driving strikes a pedestrian, it won’t matter why the at-fault driver struck the pedestrian; it will only matter that they failed to adhere to driving laws.
If You Need Legal Help, Contact Berg Injury Laws
We’ve been helping clients in Northern California since 1981. We know what it takes to get an injured person the compensation they’re entitled to. If you or a loved one was injured by a distracted or negligent driver, we can help. Contact our California car accident attorneys today for a free consultation.