When you send a text while driving, your eyes are off the road for an average of 5 seconds. If you are driving at 55mph, in 5 seconds you travel the length of a football field. Driving the speed limit on the freeway would take you even further. That is plenty of time to get in an accident, which means it is too much time to take your eyes off the road. Texting is considered the most dangerous form of distracted driving, because it requires the driver to look down at the screen, focus on what to say in the conversation, and then focus on typing that message. It therefore requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver.
Still, it is not the only type of distracted driving. As there are infinite tasks we can now accomplish on our phones, there are infinite ways to take our eyes off the road. A new law in California went into effect in January to combat that: banning all use of handheld devices behind the wheel.
Other Forms of Distracted Driving:
- Using GPS
- Making a call on your cell phone
- Eating and drinking
- Changing the music
- Talking to passengers
New California Law:
It is now against the law in California to drive while holding your phone, even if you are using it for GPS. The phone must be mounted on the dashboard or placed in one of two positions on the windshield: in the lower right corner or lower left corner. This new law also bans drivers from mounting or hanging their phones in the center of the windshield.
Also, the law states that drivers may only use one finger to tap or swipe the screen. That means no trying to text from the phone mount.
Avoid Being Another Statistic:
Following this new law may not be enough to ensure safe driving. As you saw on this list above, there are so many different forms of distracted driving that have nothing to do with your phone.
Car accidents may seem like they could never happen to you, but they happen every day to drivers who never see them coming. Now distracted driving is making accidents even more common. In 2015, an average of 96 people died every day in motor vehicle crashes and 6,700 others were injured.
Don’t become a part of that statistic. Make sure that your phone is in one of these phone mounts. Then, before you leave on a long trip, take the extra time to make sure your music is set up and read the directions on your GPS so that you know where you’re going. That extra minute of preparation could potentially save your life.
The CHP is looking out for distracted drivers. Click here for more information.
Have a serious injury and need legal advice? Contact Howard Blau.
Please Be Sure to Read the Following References:
“Auto Crashes March 2017.” Insurance Information Institute. 2017. Retrieved 23 March 2017 from http://www.iii.org/issue-update/auto-crashes.
“California’s strict new law: Drivers, put down that cellphone.” The Sacramento Bee. 27 December 2017. Retrieved 23 March 2017 from http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/transportation/article123126354.html.
“Distracted Driving.” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Retrieved 23 March 2017 from https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving#2801.
“New 2017 Driving Laws in California.” Eyewitness News ABC7. 01 January 2017. Retrieved 23 March 2017 from http://abc7.com/travel/new-2017-driving-laws-in-california/1681906/.
“Texting Drivers Take Eyes Off Road 5 Seconds On Average: Study.” International Business Times. 19 May 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2017 from http://www.ibtimes.com/texting-drivers-take-eyes-road-5-seconds-average-study-699189.