In car and truck accident cases, we regularly see instances where cell phone usage or texting while driving causes or contributes to serious injury. Through subpoenas we are now able to obtain cell phone and texting records. Not surprisingly, many drivers do not admit to talking or texting while driving until confronted with these records.
Tennessee, along with 40 other states and the District of Columbia, prohibits texting while driving. Tennessee Code Annotated § 55-8-199 provides that no person while driving . . . shall use a mobile telephone or handheld device to transmit or read a written message. However, just like speed limits do not keep everyone from driving their car faster than they should, the ban on texting and driving does not prevent this danger either. Similarly, it has been found to violate Tennessee Code Annotated 55-8-136 whenever a driver fails to operate a vehicle in a safe and prudent manner due to cell phone use or other activity that distracts the driver.
Texting and Driving Causing More Deaths than Drinking and Driving
To illustrate the severity, studies have shown that texting and driving has now surpassed drinking and driving as the number one cause of death for teenage drivers. Research has shown that more than 3,000 teenagers die each year (300,000 are injured) as a result of texting and driving as opposed to 2,700 deaths each year (282,000 are injured) as a result of driving under the influence.
Simply because these statistics involve teenagers, the dangers are not limited to that age group. Technology is making communication so much easier and even more user friendly, thus reaching a wider range of the age spectrum. Adults that do not consider themselves "tech savvy" are continuously finding themselves engaging in the same activity that, in the past, was mainly limited to a younger generation. The research on the dangers of texting and driving has not been limited to teenagers. According to The New York Times, a study involving drivers of all ages showed that drivers that text while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident than someone not texting.
So the next time you find yourself with the urge to send "On my way" to a friend while behind the wheel of car, think twice. It can wait. Your safety and the safety of others traveling beside of you are the most important things.