With the rise of technology at a peak, nearly every person today carries a cell phone with them while driving. Not only do we all carry a cell phone, but it is typically within an arms reach while we are operating a vehicle. The only question is, how often do drivers become distracted by the use of their cell phone? Based on recent crash statistics, the answer is far too often. Sadly, we have all seen that distracted driver from time to time, swerving across the roadway while staring at their phone.
Approximately nine people are killed every day in the United States in a distracted driving accident. Some of the most common distracted driving results from cell phone use on the road, whether it is texting or talking on the phone. Due to the high volume of people using their cell phones while driving, virtually every state in the U.S. has enacted a law banning at least some sort of cell phone usage for drivers while the vehicle is in motion, such as hands-free and texting laws.
Types of Distracted Driving
There are three main types of distracted driving: cognitive, visual, and manual. Typically, the most dangerous distraction on the road is texting, because it combines all three main types of distraction:
- (1) cognitive – your mind is unfocused from driving;
- (2) visual – your eyes are off the road; and
- (3) manual – your hands are off the steering wheel.
As of February 2017, there are four states that have not banned texting while driving: (1) Arizona; (2) Montana; (3) Texas; and (4) Missouri. In Arizona and Montana, there are zero restrictions on texting while driving, however, there are a few in Texas and one in Missouri. In Texas, you cannot text while driving a vehicle if you are under the age of 18, a bus driver, or if you are in a school zone. As of 2009, in Missouri you cannot text while driving if you are 21 years of age or younger (also referred to as a novice driver).
Missouri Law Should Do More To Prevent Distracted Driving
Missouri is thought by some to be the worst distracted driving state in the U.S. According to the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety, 20 percent of crashes involve some form of distracted driving. The average driver spends 4.6 seconds texting with their eyes off the road and 50 percent of teen drivers admit they text while driving. Many angry Missourian drivers who have been victims of distracted driving are voicing their opinions on the lack of a “no texting while driving” law. However, any efforts that have been made in Missouri regarding banning texting while driving have been fruitless.
In Illinois, one of Missouri’s neighboring states, it is illegal for a driver to be using any electronic device while the vehicle is in motion, unless the device is hands free. Illinois State Troopers have been writing tickets in relation to using electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle in hopes of cracking down on the amount of accidents across the state. Some Illinois State Troopers have gone as far as traveling to schools with simulators to show teenagers the dangers of distracted driving.
Those injured by a distracted driver are still entitled to seek reimbursement for their losses in a civil negligence suit. A civil negligent suit for distracted driving seeks reimbursement from the distracted driver’s insurance policy. Contact an accident lawyer to discuss your right to reimbursement following an accident.