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In 2013, 3,154 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents involving distracted drivers and 424,000 were injured. While distracted driving involves many activities, tasks associated with the use of hand-held phones and other portable devices – texting and driving, for instance – increases the risk of getting into a crash by three times.
Distracted driving is any activity that takes your attention away from driving. This includes things such as eating, drinking, changing the radio station, applying make-up, brushing your hair, talking to others in the car, along with texting, emailing and talking on the phone.
The Center for Disease Control defines three types of distractions:
Texting while driving involves all three types of distractions — visual, manual, and cognitive — making it an extremely dangerous driving behavior.
The average text message takes about five seconds to respond to. If you are driving, that means five seconds when your eyes are off the road, five seconds when your hand or hands are off the wheel and five seconds when your mind is not thinking about driving.
In those five seconds, your car (traveling at an average speed of 55 mph) can go the length of a football field.
Those five seconds — taken to simply respond to a text message — can lead to catastrophic results such as brain injuries, broken backs and other fractures, internal injuries, disfigurement, paralysis, and fatalities to both the texter as well as other drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, and pedestrians.
It is especially important for young drivers to be educated. They are in the process of developing their driving skills and oftentimes may think they are immune to such negligent behavior; however, according to a CDC study, this age group has the largest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.
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Past results afford no guarantee of future results and each case is different and is judged on its own merits.