There is no doubt that distracted driving can be a huge problem on American roads, ranking up there with drunk and drowsy driving. For example, the statistics on Distraction.gov are eye-opening, and perhaps the most startling one is this: “Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that's enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded.” The information is from research performed by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, and here is a look at the difference that five seconds makes.
Traffic can change easily in less than five seconds
The car in front of yours could brake, make a turn or even experience a tire blowout. Some of these instances could lead to a collision, especially if your eyes are not on the road. That said, you could have your eyes off the road to read a one-word text message, an act that might take two seconds instead of five, and still hit a car or be hit.
In a nutshell, every second counts.
Your focus might drift
Suppose you are thinking about the stoplight up ahead when you look down to check your phone. While reading the funny joke, you forget about the light. Maybe it is still green when you return your eyes to the road, but what if it has turned yellow or red? What if you are careening through an intersection? If you are someone who has been hit by a vehicle, you probably know all too well that the aftermath is not easy to deal with.
Pedestrians might appear
In ideal situations, pedestrians would check every direction they possibly could before crossing a street. This does not always happen, however, and children and/or pets may dart in front of your car. Similarly, take your eyes off the road for just a moment, and a bicyclist could careen in front of your vehicle.
Since 2011, the state of Delaware has had a hands-free cellphone law. Drivers can be fined if they use handheld phones, tablets and the like while they drive. Similarly, mobile device use for truckers is limited, and drivers can even lose their jobs after a first offense. As the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration explains, mobile device use is hazardous because drivers may have to take their eyes off the road. Big vehicles are also harder to stop in a shorter period of time.
Distracted.gov says that in 2014, distracted drivers were involved in a little more than 3,000 fatalities and 431,000 injuries. If you have been injured or otherwise affected by a distracted driver, an attorney may be able to help.