Texting while you are driving is a form of distracted driving. It’s just as bad as driving while intoxicated. A large amount of traffic accidents are linked to distracted driving and the number one distraction these days is cell phones which has led to many injuries and deaths. The national statistics are staggering. More than 9 percent of fatal crashes in the US in the past 7 years are attributed to distracted drivers.
We’ve all seen the jolting videos that show the results of texting while driving—the commercials, the billboards—urging us to wait until we are stopped to check our phones. These are warnings that many people do not pay attention to. There is this, “It won’t happen to me” attitude, especially among young drivers. What we forget to think about is how much can happen in a few seconds that we are looking down to check social media or read a text while behind the wheel. The moment you avert your eyes from the road, you are taking a major risk and endangering your own life as well as the lives of other people.
The obvious reason is that you’re more likely to crash if you’re texting while you’re driving. It has been reported by the National Safety Council that more than 1.5 million crashes each year are a result of cell phone use while driving. That’s roughly 1 out of every 4 car accidents in the US.
You put the safety of others at risk each time you pick up your phone while you’re driving. Something as simple as reading or responding to a text endangers the lives of others in the car, the people in vehicles around you, and pedestrians.
Your reaction time decreases by up to 37% when you are texting while driving. That is more than double the delay in reaction time for a driver who is at the legal blood alcohol content limit while behind the wheel. When your full attention isn’t on the road, you can run red lights—which endangers pedestrians, and be less likely to avoid unexpected objects or things that might be in your path. For example, stopped vehicles, animals, children, garbage cans—slow moving vehicles like tractors or bicyclists and more. The fact is, you never know what might lie ahead of you and you need to be on high alert with your full attention on your surroundings.
Under Iowa laws, you can be fined for texting and driving. It falls under the distracted driving law which means that law enforcement can stop any driver who is texting—this includes reading, writing, or sending a text—or using any other portable electronic device while driving. Furthermore, if a driver is using a cellphone and causes the death of another person, they can face a felony conviction that includes up to 10 years in prison and/a $10,000.00 fine. That five seconds it takes to look down at a text and read or reply can change the entire course of your life.
Besides being illegal, it is simply irresponsible to text and drive. In addition to legal consequences, your insurance company may increase your insurance premiums due to any related citations you may receive.
“It can wait!” “Put it Down”—we’ve all seen this kind of messaging posted on signs and broadcasted in advertisements whether it be by law enforcement, advocacy groups, community outreach programs, etc. We all have a responsibility to keep ourselves and our neighbors safe. By eliminating the distraction of checking your phone while you're driving, you’re doing your part to reduce insurance costs and most importantly avoid injuries and deaths. To find out more about laws regarding texting while driving or distracted driving in general, please reach out to the team at Beattie Law Firm today. It is our mission to help people understand the law. We provide legal counsel to people throughout Des Moines, Knoxville, Ames & the surrounding areas.