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The Real Dangers of Texting While Driving

January 21, 2010 by Steven M. Gursten

Accident Attorneys Urge Drivers to Take “No-Texting” Pledge

Our car accident attorneys have seen far too many preventable car accidents resulting from distracted drivers texting and talking on cell phones. Research shows that talking on a cell phone while driving can have the same effect on perception and reaction timing as driving with four drinks in your system, while texting can have the same effect as driving with eight drinks in your system.

Now I’d like to jump on the Oprah bandwagon after her show this week showed millions of Americans just how dangerous this is. Oprah cited a survey finding that 71 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 49 admit they text or talk on the phone while driving. Her show then put young drivers who felt they could text and drive safely, on a course, showing just how impaired driving becomes when texting. The results are eye-opening.

I’ve said this before and it bears repeating: Texting while driving is a thoughtless act. But it is also very dangerous and needlessly puts lives at risk. Our message is simple, you can wait until your car is at a stop to send that text or make that phone call.

I’m asking you to take Oprah’s pledge that you will not text and drive. To make it official, take Oprah’s “No Phone Zone” pledge. This means no cell phone use or texting whatsoever in your vehicle. I hope you will become part of preventing needless tragedies from occurring.

Victims of Distracted Driving: The Numbers Don’t Lie

In September 2008, I blogged about a Los Angeles commuter train that crashed into an oncoming freight engine. The accident killed two dozen people and injured 135 — and it was caused because the engineer was texting. After Oprah’s show on distracted driving, her web site had in in-depth article featuring the commuter crash atrocity.

This accident made national headlines, and is an extreme example that distracting driving is claiming lives and destroying families. Sadly, such carnage is a part of our jobs as car accident attorneys. We see people killed and severely injured like this in our own metro Detroit communities. For example, in one of my cases, a trucker was texting and caused a catastrophic truck accident that resulted in my client losing both his legs when his Saturn was literally split in half. The crash occurred in Harrison Township, in Macomb County.

As part of a law firm handling auto accidents, I’m extremely pleased Oprah has taken on this important issue. With her following and clout, it can only help spread the word and hopefully resonate with people throughout the country. Trust me, my wife (a big Oprah fan) was waiting for me when I got home after Oprah’s texting show. Most likely, that was repeated hundreds of thousands of times throughout the country.

As Oprah said, “It is my prayer that this show, this day will be a seminal day in your life. Let it be the end, the end of you using a cell phone or sending a text message when you are behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. And until we as a nation decide we’re going to change that, those numbers are only going to go up.”

Sadly, the accident statistics are going up. Latest numbers from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (Summer 2009) prove the act of writing a text message while behind the wheel is one of the most dangerous things a driver can do. That “How R U?” can make a car crash 23 times more likely for truck drivers and six times more likely for most motorists.

Please re-think your actions while driving in Michigan. You could literally save lives, and save yourself.

– Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by nayrb7


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4 Replies to “The Real Dangers of Texting While Driving”

  1. While we are obviously can no where near reach the level of expose that Oprah can, we are attempting to educate and spread awareness of the dangers of texting while driving to local youth and teens. We founded Teens Against Distracted Driving http://teensagainstdistracteddriving.com/ where you can take our version of the pledge to promise to end texting while driving.

    Thanks for helping spread the awareness and take care!

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