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Dangers of Texting While Driving

Legislation in Oregon State has expanded the definition of distracted driving to virtually any behavior a driver can engage in that involves a cellphone, such as using it to talk to browsing the web. Out of all the distractions a cellphone poses to a driver, though, texting while driving is most definitely the most dangerous. Thousands of car accidents occur every year, and some safety organizations predict that anywhere between 25% and 50% of them involve at least one texting and driving motorist. How has this habit become so widespread and why is it so dangerous?

Smartphones, Bad Decisions

As technology advances and the younger generation grows up, smartphones are increasing in popularity. It is not uncommon to see a 12-year old walking around with the latest and greatest mobile device, and it is far rarer to see a 16-year old without one. Despite the popularity of texting and the near-necessity of driving around our communities, there is not much awareness of the dangers of texting and driving. It all adds up to more car accidents each year.

Three Forms of Distractions

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – usually just called the CDC – has officially declared that there are three forms of distractions that can affect drivers:

  1. Manual: Something that encourages or requires the driver to remove their hands from the steering wheel, and gearshift in manual transmission vehicles.
  2. Visual: Something that makes the driver look away from the road or mirrors for more than a reasonable amount of time, about 2 or more seconds.
  3. Cognitive: Anything that permits the driver’s mind or thought processes to wander, i.e. taking focus off the task of driving.

Texting is so incredibly dangerous while driving because it uses all three forms of driver distraction. Picking up the phone, typing, and sending a message requires hands, eyes, and thoughts. Even drivers with defensive habits and a great driving record cannot claim to safely control their automobile while texting.

If you have been hit by a negligent driver, their texting habit might be to blame. Contact me, Portland Car Accident Attorney Timothy Grabe, to schedule a free initial consultation to tell me what happened. If I can find that they were texting when they hit you, possibly by investigating cellphone records, your case will be strengthened and you may be able to win maximum compensation.