Many cannot resist texting and driving, study find

A new survey found that although drivers recognize the dangers of texting while driving, many cannot resist the urge to engage in this activity.

Many drivers can't resist texting and driving in California, despite the realization that texting and driving is dangerous. According to a 2013 California Traffic Safety Survey, approximately 48 percent of Californians surveyed said that texting is the most serious distraction for drivers. Additionally, to prevent the number of car accidents caused by texting drivers, it is illegal for all drivers in the state to text and drive, states Distraction.gov. Despite this ban and many drivers' recognition of the dangers of texting while driving, a new study found that many drivers cannot resist the urge to text behind the wheel. In the last 10 years, personal injury law firm, Neustadt and Berriz, has noted an increase of collisions caused by texting. "Of course, drivers find it difficult to admit they were texting or otherwise distracted by their mobile devices, so we look at the circumstances of the collision and can argue driver's negligence, even if the driver's don't admit they were texting," says attorney Armando J. Berriz.

Important findings

According to Time, this survey of over 900 drivers found that 18 percent of the participants cannot control their desire to send or check text messages behind the wheel. Additionally, 17 percent of the 18 to 34-year-old drivers said that they texted while driving regularly or often. Seven percent of the participants between the ages of 35 to 54 also admitted to the same. Although many of the participants said that they could not resist texting and driving, 87 percent of the respondents said that they knew texting or checking their e-mail while driving is dangerous.

Why texting and driving is so dangerous

Although texting while driving is a hazardous activity, a distracted driver can elevate his or her risk of causing a car accident by performing any action that takes his or her full attention away from driving. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are three primary types of driver distraction, which include:

  • Cognitive distraction - drivers become cognitively distracted when they are no longer focused on driving. For example, a driver who intently focuses on what he or she has to accomplish at work is cognitively distracted.
  • Manual distraction - when drivers take their hands off of the steering wheel, they are manually distracted. For instance, when a driver reaches for a CD on the passenger seat, he or she is manually distracted.
  • Visual distraction - this type of distraction occurs when drivers take their eyes away from the road in front of them. For example, a driver is visually distracted when he or she looks at his or her GPS device to get directions.

However, texting and driving is one of the most dangerous types of inattentive driving because it involves cognitive, manual and visual distraction. "Indeed, I've made the argument that texting and driving is as dangerous as, if not more, than drunk driving. At least drunk drivers are arguably paying more attention, even though they are at a cognitive disadvantage. Texting drivers are moving down the roadway at high speeds in a several thousand pound vehicle, essentially without looking at the roadway for 5-6 seconds at a time! Collisions occur in milliseconds. Texting and driving is a recipe for disaster," says Berriz.

Seeking compensation

Those involved in an accident in California caused by a distracted driver may sustain injuries that result in physical, emotional and financial harm. If you were injured in a collision and suspect the other driver was distracted, call an attorney, like the ones at Neustadt and Berriz, personal injury attorneys, to determine what compensation may be available to you.

Keywords: texting, distracted, driving, accident