We all have done it at one time or another; our phones buzz or ding indicating a text message has been received and for some reason we have to read it and respond at that moment despite driving 55 miles per hour on the highway in fairly steady traffic. We see other drivers with their eyes on their iPhones instead of the road ahead and we all think “what a jerk,” and then two minutes later Jimmy is texting that he needs to be picked up from soccer practice NOW and “where are you mom?” And we feel compelled to respond so Jimmy knows we are not neglecting him (the line at Starbucks was just longer than usual for this time of day.)
And while perhaps this scenario seems a little humorous and close to home, the fact remains that it can also be devastating. According to the National Safety Council, cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million car crashes a year and 330,000 injuries. Further, texting while driving is six times more likely to cause a crash than drunk driving.
We all agree that texting and driving is a dangerous and reckless activity and most people tend to agree that as responsible drivers, we should never do it, and certainly when we see someone else on the road texting or talking on a cell phone, we often become angry and outraged. How dare that woman put us all at risk?! And then we are asked “where are you? When will you be home?” from the wife/husband/kids who we know are freaking out because dinner is getting cold so we feel compelled to respond.
With staggering statistics and an obvious danger to ourselves and others on the road, it’s time to put our phones away when we’re driving. Many drivers are distracted by just knowing that a text message has come across their phone. There are several ways to prevent this distraction including switching the phone to “Airplane” mode, turning it off completely, or downloading apps that send messages to would be texters and callers that you are driving. iPhone recently added this capability in the last IOS update and Samsung users have already had this option. It’s time we use them.
When a distracted driver causes a crash and injures someone that we love, we are understandably angry because they “should know better” and should have followed the rules. In order to keep our communities and our roadways safe for everyone, it is important for all of us to commit to follow the same rules. Let’s put our phones away – that text can wait.
For more information on safe driving laws in your state, visit: http://www.ghsa.org/state-laws/issues/Distracted-Driving
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Lauren D. Fraser, Esq
Lauren is a nationally recognized trial attorney in New Jersey, having been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers organization as one of the Top 100 Trial Attorneys in NJ. Lauren specializes in personal injury law representing people in the community who have been injured through no fault of their own.
Please note: The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of Lauren Fraser (and sometimes other super smart people, especially when she provides appropriate citations.) Lauren's opinions do not necessarily reflect those of all members of The Fraser Firm or any other organization to which she belongs. However, Lauren is also the first to admit she is generally right about stuff.