Turn Off Your Phone in the Car – It Saves Lives
As personal injury attorneys in Rockwall, our staff is acutely aware of the fact that the number of traffic accident fatalities in Texas increased every year between 2010 and 2017. We are thankful to learn that the most recent statistics show a drop in fatalities in 2018. Some of the drop has been attributed to the texting ban enacted in 2017.
2018’s numbers are motivation to us to remind drivers to turn off their phones in the car. Better yet, turn off your phone and put it somewhere out of reach. Doing so could potentially save a life. There is no conversation so important that it cannot wait until you either reach your destination or find a parking lot where you can use your phone safely.
About the Numbers
There are a lot of things to hate about car crashes. We see all of them as personal injury attorneys. Perhaps the most disheartening thing is to have to litigate cases that were so obviously avoidable. For example, no one has to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. And yet our office frequently has to represent innocent victims harmed by drunk drivers.
The good news from 2018 is that there were 4% fewer fatal car crashes as compared to 2017. A drop of 4% might not seem like much until you see the actual raw data. In 2017, 3,720 people lost their lives in car crashes. That fell to 3,567 in 2018, representing 153 people who did lose their lives on Texas roads.
We are also happy to report that there were fewer fatal accidents involving pedestrians in 2018 as well. The Insurance Council of Texas reports a drop of 12% in car-pedestrian accidents. That is good news all the way around.
Don’t Be the Cause
Data showing fewer fatal accidents is always good news. However, let us get back to the main point of this post: turning off your phone in the car. To put it another way, do not be the cause of an accident that results in a victim having to call us.
Texas legislators banned texting while driving in 2017. That seems to have had a positive effect on car crash numbers. But did you know that any use of a cell phone while driving is equally dangerous? You don’t have to text to be a threat. Talking on the phone, checking your e-mail, posting to social media, etc. are all equally dangerous.
All those things qualify as distractions. And by the way, distracted driving is also illegal in Texas. Any time a driver’s attention is taken off the road – even for a split second – the risk of an accident shoots way up. Is it worth possibly injuring or killing someone just to check that message on your phone?
Phones and GPS Directions
About the only valid reason for using your phone while driving is to take advantage of GPS directions. If that’s something you do regularly, please do it safely. We recommend a couple of things, beginning with purchasing a dash mount for your phone. A dash mount relieves you of having to hold the phone in your hand.
Second, input your destination and get your directions before you begin driving. If something changes en route, find a safe place to stop before reprogramming your GPS app.
Finally, take advantage of your phone’s voice activation features. Voice activation allows you to speak to your phone in to order make changes. You can change directions or destinations on-the-fly without ever having to touch or look at your phone.