The majority of Americans rely on their cellphone to keep them connected with friends, family and the rest of the world. In fact, more than 90 percent of American adults own cellphones, according to data published by the Pew Research Center. Although these small cellular devices open a world of possibility to people in Mississippi and across the country, they are the leading cause of distracted driving car accidents in the U.S. Despite national and state media campaigns warning people about the dangers of using a cellphone while driving, many people do not stop talking and texting on their cellular devices when they get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Sadly, this negligence kills and injures innocent people every day.
According to Distraction.gov, the official U.S. government's website dedicated to distracted driving, more than 424,000 people were injured and 3,154 people were killed in distracted driving auto accidents in 2013. In response to these alarming statistics, many states have enacted cellphone laws, limiting the use of cellphones behind the wheel and even banning it altogether. Earlier this year, Mississippi enacted a law prohibiting motorists from texting while driving, as reported by the Insurance Journal. Anyone found texting while driving may be pulled over and ticketed, even if they haven't committed any other type of driving offense.
Research published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there are three main types of driving distractions. Visual distractions occur when drivers engage in a task that requires them to take their eyes off of the road. Similarly, manual distractions involve the driver removing his or her hands from the steering wheel. When drivers remove their concentration off of driving and begin to focus on another activity, they are cognitively distracted.
Texting and driving is especially dangerous because it involves all three types of distractions. Not only is the texting driver not looking at the road ahead, they are often using their hands and their minds to create, write and send text messages. A study conducted at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that people remove their eyes from the road for an average of five seconds when composing a text message. This may not seem like a long time. However, it is enough for a motorist traveling at 55 mph to drive the length of a football field while essentially blindfolded.
Drivers who make the poor decision to text and drive put the lives of everyone else on the road at risk. Distracted driving car accidents have the potential to cause serious, life-changing injuries. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a tragic car accident caused by a distracted driver, you may want to partner with an established attorney in Mississippi. You may be eligible for compensation for your medical expenses, emotional trauma, property damage and lost wages from work.