Drivers can have their attention taken away from the road by nearly anything: cellphones, navigation systems, personal grooming, changing radio stations, talking to passengers and many other types of distractions. While experienced drivers might be somewhat able to re-focus and react to danger after being distracted, younger drivers often lack the situational awareness to react appropriately.
Youth and the Culture of Electronics
Every few months, it seems, there is a new app, new device or new use for widespread personal electronics. This is the culture that teens and young adults live in – cell phones and personal electronics are ubiquitous in their environment. Teens can be seen texting while talking on the phone and having a conversation in person at the same time. Is it any wonder that some of this behavior bleeds over into driving?
According to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute Library, 25 percent of teens will respond to a text message at least once while driving. Twenty percent of teens admit that they will have a multi-message text conversation while driving. Unfortunately, these actions can have a devastating impact on other drivers. Serious accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries such as paralysis, amputation, traumatic brain injury and neck injury.
Distracted Driving by the Numbers
A study published by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute notes that, while texting, a driver takes his or her eyes off the road for an average of five seconds. A vehicle traveling at 55 mph will cover the length of a football field in five seconds – and the driver is essentially driving with his or her eyes closed.
Texting, and cell phone use, in general, are increasingly responsible for serious accidents and catastrophic injuries. These practices have also led to a staggering number of fatal accidents involving teens. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 10 percent of all drivers under the age of 20 who were involved in accidents that caused a fatality was distracted at the time of the crash.
If you were injured in an accident that may have involved teenage distracted driving, it is wise to seek the counsel of a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. Through a careful evaluation of your accident and resulting injuries, a legal professional can provide the guidance you need.