Distracted Driving: Texting and Driving is Deadly

It shouldn't take the death of a loved one, or a life altering mistake, to make each and everyone of us reconsider the next time we reach for the phone from the driver's seat. Over 3000 deaths and 424,000 injuries a year, and the reason? To answer a text asking where we are? Not resisting the urge to read the text that probably says nothing more than "yes" or "are you on your way"?

There is an inexhaustible number of reasons to never text and drive, and yet it is a still far too common occurrence. In 2013, the California Department of Motor Vehicles reported over 426,000 handheld cell phone and texting convictions, with more than 57,000 tickets issued in April alone. In their driving education, young drivers are imbued with anti-distracted driving messages in the form of appalling statistics, gruesome videos, tearjerker testimonials. This focus on youth is essential: ten percent of drivers of all ages under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted, according to Distraction.gov.

Unfortunately, the reality often doesn't sink in until drivers are given a direct and personal link to a distracted driving tragedy-like the parents of Deanna Mauer. Deanna was on her way to a friend's house on the 405 freeway when she was struck from behind, the other vehicle going 85 miles per hour. The driver's cell phone company confirmed the driver of the other vehicle had received five text messages and had sent eight text messages in the minutes before the crash. The driver was convicted of manslaughter, and sentenced to six years in prison.

Deanna's parents erected a billboard as a reminder to drivers. It states: "Someone texting and driving killed our daughter...Your text can wait." This succinct and powerful message will hopefully reach drivers and keep the roads safer. Deanna's death is a member of the statistics which have spurred both governmental and lay organizations into action: As of January 2015, 44 states banned text messaging for all drivers.

Deanna's parents also look to phone and car companies for problem solving: how can they work to make it impossible to use a phone and drive at the same time? For now, however, these laws and initiatives are only half the battle. The rest lies within drivers themselves. To avoid augmenting the numbers of accidents and tickets, experts offer ways in which we may decrease the temptation to text and drive, serving as best practices for new and experienced drivers alike. Have discussions with family and friends to help each other out-work to avoid texting or calling each other when on the road. Put your phone in the glove compartment, not on the dashboard or passenger seat. Even better, turn it off, or turn on airplane mode. However harmless or inconvenient it might seem in the moment, the ramifications of such a decision have lasting and devastating effects.

We all resolve to be good drivers, and there's a tendency to think that it wouldn't happen to us. But, accidents happen because of distracted driving every day. If you have been involved in a DUI, distracted driving or texting and driving accident, call the Law Offices of Glew & Kim at 866-416-2161 for a free case review.

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