Three Wrong Attitudes Towards Texting and Driving

September 30, 2011

Auto Accidents

Introduction

The following article mentions texting only but can also pertain to cell phone use and other distractions while driving.   It is mainly directed at the teenage and 20-something old age group because this is the group with the highest percentage of distracted drivers.  Studies show that the younger generation is more apt to include risk takers and fearless drivers because they lack the discernment and vision that is  associated with older and more experienced drivers to see dangers lurking around   the corner.  This article also is meant more as a wake-up call to nudge distracted drivers out of their slumber of nonchalance and tell them that YES, an accident can happen to you if your attention is not  focused on your driving.  You are not immune to bad things happening as the following attitudes seem to indicate.   Most of the younger generation is not  interested in long drawn out and wordy jargon that sounds more like a lecture than anything else, so the article is brief, concise and to the point.  It is also meant to reach the reader on a personal basis so that he or she can relate to these mind-sets.

We all know for a fact that oil and water don’t mix.   After all its been scientifically proven, hasn’t it? Now what about  texting and driving ?    Has that been proven or is it just a lot of  drama  coming from a  bunch of  overly anxious nay sayers ?  Well, let’s dig deeper into this matter and  try  to analyze  the  mindset behind  this emerging and dangerous trend.   There  are three attitudes that seem  to prevail while texting and driving.

1.  The first one is complacency.   The word complacency as defined in  the dictionary means satisfied with the way things are, not prone to change.   It denotes a  type of  smugness and  lack of self-criticism.   No reaction to surrounding circumstances. After all, if everybody else is doing it , so can I,  is the usual consensus.  As human beings we tend to follow the crowd because we want  to fit in.  The brain’s focus narrows in on this  point exclusively and pretty  much ignores  the warning  signs  of  the  possible consequences  of our actions. It  does not occur to us to investigate the statistics on just how much of  this “everybody” has had an accident while texting or whether there were any serious injuries due to the texting.   It is just accepted  as  part of  our daily routine,  so therefore it must be ok and safe enough.

STOP .  WHAT WAS THAT AGAIN ?    

Remember  that when you  get into your car, you are getting into a  potential  lethal weapon  that weighs a ton or more.  This potential  lethal  machine has no mind of its own.  Its going to automatically obey  your every instruction whether you want it to or not.  Its going to go exactly where you direct it.  While you are texting, your eyes and mind will be off the road for let’s say a split second.  It doesn’t matter how you divide this pie; whether it be thousandth of a second or more.  YOUR EYES ARE OFF THE  ROAD.  Now accidents can happen in the blink of an eye.  Insurance companies are packed  full with claims  stating that the other car came out of “nowhere”.   Come on, cars  do not just  materialize  out of nowhere. They were just not observed in time by a distracted  driver.   This is fact.  While you are texting , your eyes and mind are elsewhere.   Some young people boast that they are able to multitask while driving.  Apparently, since they have been able to ride the wave up to this point, so  to  speak , they are under the  illusion that they have everything under control.  Complacency  has  them in her seductive  embrace.   Accidents only happen to those who  are not as quick  and  adept  as they are.  Beware of the spirit of complacency.    She is very deceptive and dangerous.   We are not able to  figuratively  look around corners in life because we are not  psychic.  Humans have limitations and  this is  something we should be sharply aware of.    So let’s try a little alertness and accountability when we get behind the wheel.  It is a sign of maturity and it may save your life and someone else’s.

2. The  second attitude is the need for instant gratification.  We see something out there we like and we must have it now.  Not a minute from now nor a second.  It has to be NOW.  That’s where instant communication comes  in.   Today’s young people grew up in the age of instant  communication and  instant  gratification.  The words “wait” and “patience” have no meaning for them.   Is it  really so much of an emergency or so urgent that the texting can’t wait  till you are off the road? If you find yourself  with the immediate need to send a text message , try to find a rest stop or parking lot  where you can do so safely without putting yourself and other drivers at risk.  Wrap your mind around  what could happen if you don’t  text that person right away and decide to wait, as opposed to what could happen if you have an accident while texting. Mind boggling, isn’t it ?

3. The  third attitude that seems to be a driving  force behind this action is the “because I can” syndrome. This  attitude appears to strangely coincide with the “its all about me” syndrome.  Very interesting. Yes,   if we can get away with something  we know is wrong but that doesn’t really weigh on our conscience,  99% of the time we will keep doing it.  That is just an inborn tendency of most humans.  If you know it is risky to rush the yellow light  but you think nobody has noticed, or even cares,  the temptation will be overwhelming, especially  if  it appears that  everybody else is doing it .  Never mind that a  car on the opposing side of the light is starting to make its move or that traffic laws were made for your  safety and protection.   Apparently, they don’t apply to you specifically.  Same goes for those who text and drive.   The temptation to do it is too much if you have all the required equipment with you.  The mindset is that its usually somebody else that gets caught, not ourselves.  Procrastination gets blended into this mix also.   Well,  we assume,  only this time and then I’ll stop.     Only this time and that  will  be it. Careful of  this mindset.  This  time  could  be the moment that  Lady Luck decides to forsake you.

Hopefully, this article will give you some food for thought as to why you think  its ok to text and drive.   Are you guilty of any of these attitudes,  and if so, could you possibly look into your mirror and make a firm resolve to correct them.  Again, happy safe driving.

FACTS AND STATISTICS GATHERED ON DISTRACTED DRIVING

What does it mean to be a distracted driver and are you one? There are 3 main types of distracted driving.   They are :

Visual – Taking your eyes off the road

Manual – Taking your hands off the wheel

Cognitive – Taking your mind off the driving

While all distractions can endanger driver’s safety, texting, is by far, the most alarming because it involves all three.

Other distracting activities include :

  • Using a cell phone
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading, such as a map
  • Watching a video
  • Changing the radio station or CD
  • Programming a GPS
  • Other less obvious distractions involve daydreaming and strong emotions

Research on distracted driving reveals some surprising facts :

  • 20% of injury crashes in 2009 involved distracted drivers
  • Of those killed in distracted-driver-related crashes, 995 involved reports of cell phone use
  • In 2009, 5474 people were killed on U.S. roadways and an estimated additional 448,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes that were reported to have involved distracted drivers.
  • The age group with the greatest proportion of distracted drivers was the under-20 age group-16% of all teenage drivers involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted.
  • Drivers holding hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into collisions serious enough to cause injury

Sources:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Police reported data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) show that :

The proportion of fatalities reportedly associated with driver distraction increased from 10% in 2005 to 16% in 2009.

The age group with the next greatest proportion of distracted drivers was the 20-29 year old group – 13% of all 20-29 year olds involved in fatal crashes were reported as having been distracted.

Of those drivers reportedly distracted during a fatal crash, the 30-39 year old drivers were the group with the greatest percentage distracted by cell phone use.

Light truck drivers and motorcyclists had the greatest percentage of drivers reported as distracted at the time of the fatal crash (12% each).

While the above numbers are significant, they may not state the overall size of the problem, since the identification of distraction and its role in a collision can be very difficult to determine using only police-reported data.

*There is a proposed  law to be reviewed by the state senate this coming fall to ban texting and driving in Ohio

To learn more about auto accidents, please visit http://www.slaterzurz.com.

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About slaterzurz

Slater & Zurz LLP is an Ohio law firm of highly experienced and respected attorneys. Over the last 40 years, we have developed a reputation for getting positive results for clients. We've been trusted with handling over 20,000 personal injury cases and our clients have received more than $120,000,000.

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2 Comments on “Three Wrong Attitudes Towards Texting and Driving”

  1. JaCobain Says:

    help me with my english work quickly we have to get opinions on texting launguage ?

    Reply

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