Many companies are adopting 100 percent cellphone bans when operating a company vehicle. This helps protect the driver, passengers, and other vehicles on the road from being involved in a collision. A lack of cellphone polices can create great anguish for all parties involved.
According to a recent study funded by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Study, drivers using in-vehicle technologies such as touch screens and voice commands take their eyes and mental focus off the road and hands off the wheel for potentially dangerous periods of time. The technology, referred to as infotainment technology, allows drivers to use touch screens or voice commands to provide directions, play music, and place phone calls, among other options. Many of the latest systems also now allow drivers to perform tasks unrelated to driving like surfing the web, checking social media, or sending a text message.
It's 6:00 pm and you're driving your usual route home from work, when a familiar sound is heard indicating that you've received a text message. Should you check it?
Millions of motor vehicle accidents occur each year throughout the United States. For the past decade, at least 3,000 people have died on Texas roads each year. In the last reported year, over 17,000 people suffered serious injuries during automobile accidents in Texas. An unfortunate byproduct of increasing technology in our society has been a marked uptick in texting and driving and related accidents and injuries.
It is speculated that the United States has the world's worst problem with distracted driving. The past few years have shown a major increase in distracted driving accidents, with approximately 3,300 fatalities each year. The biggest distraction is texting while driving, which results in 500,000 injuries or deaths per year. As a result, personal injury lawsuits are on a rise. For example, a wrongful death lawsuit was recently filed in California after an Uber driver who was on the phone hit a mother and her daughter while they were crossing the street.
While texting and driving is almost universally agreed to be one of the most dangerous habits of this current generation, dangerous texting has begun to branch out into other areas of people's lives. Interviews have shown that the medical field has had an increasing rate of errors in the operating room related to the use of personal technology, such as checking social media. Celebrity Joan Rivers, who died of cardiac arrest after her oxygen was cut off, appeared in photos with her surgeon during surgery while under anesthesia. Another incident in Dallas was reported where an anesthesiologist was emailing and texting instead of watching the patient's vital screens. This lack of attention led to the death of the patient whose dropping oxygen levels went unnoticed for 20 minutes. From checking text messages to online shopping, cellphone distractions in the medical field are rising. The handheld computer is being cemented into daily routines at a growing rate, and business policies are struggling to catch up.
Texting and driving is often associated as a dangerous habit of teenagers, but adults are guilty of it too. In fact, a survey by AT&T found that while 98% of adults know it isn't safe to text and drive, a staggering 49% of them do it anyway. This past December a Tennessee school bus driver used his cellphone while driving and swerved into oncoming traffic, hitting another school bus. One adult and two children were killed as a result. It was later discovered that the driver was both sending and reading text messages moments before the accident. Wrongful death lawsuits are now being filed by the victims' families.
This week begins with three wrecks for drivers to consider.
For the fifth straight legislative session, Texas lawmakers will consider bills proposing a state wide ban on texting while driving. At least that is what is being reported across the state in the local and regional publications. There is more momentum than ever to get it passed, but a difference of opinion among the state's new leadership regarding how to get this done may stand in its way.
Multitasking has become second nature while driving an automobile, especially as technological advances make it much easier for motorists to perform several activities at once. Although it seems to be common knowledge that using your phone while driving is an unsafe practice, the number of accidents related to distracted driving is steadily increasing. According to a 2014 study released by the Texas Department of Transportation, 549 people died in Texas in 2013 due to automobile collisions caused by distracted drivers. This number has increased 4 percent since 2012. The report also noted that drivers who use cellular phones while driving are four times more likely to get into an accident than those who do not.