There is little doubt that distracted driving, especially when it involves texting, causes accidents, injuries and deaths. Even so, Ohio remains one of just 14 states yet to ban texting while driving, with current efforts to prohibit the practice statewide stalled in the Ohio Senate.
Even without a state law against texting and driving, there are consequences for careless drivers who injure other motorists or pedestrians. With help from Cincinnati car accident injury attorneys, individuals harmed in a crash are often able to recover monetary damages from the at-fault distracted driver or his or her insurer.
What Is the Human Cost of Distracted Driving?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported than 16 percent of all fatal crashes in 2008 were the result of driver distraction — 5,800 deaths. Even more injuries were caused by distracted drivers: some 515,000 that year.
There are many forms of distraction behind the wheel beyond texting, from scolding children to daydreaming. Texting, however, presents a unique danger, as it involves all three major types of driver distraction: cognitive (taking your mind off the road), manual (taking your hands off the wheel) and visual (looking away from the road). According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, an average text behind the wheel takes the driver’s eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds, long enough for a vehicle traveling at the freeway speed limit to go nearly the length of two football fields.
Given that data is limited, it is difficult to determine exactly what portion of distracted driving crashes can be chalked up to texting. But, one study from the University of North Texas estimated that over a period of six years, 16,141 Americans were killed as a direct result of texting behind the wheel.
Anti-Texting Bill Bogged Down In Committee, but Accident Victims Still Have Legal Recourse Against Distracted Drivers
A bill that would ban texting behind the wheel throughout Ohio easily passed in the House chamber last summer by a vote of 88-10. But in the 2012 legislative session, the measure remains mired in the Senate’s Highways and Transportation Committee. Unless more senators voice support for the bill, legislative leaders say it is unlikely to advance.
Just because Ohio is without a texting and driving law does not mean drivers can shirk responsibility for the consequences of their actions. A driver who negligently causes an accident by texting may have to pay for resulting damages (often including medical bills of the injured parties, compensation for wages lost due to an inability to work, and pain and suffering). If you have been injured in a car accident, or if a family member has been killed, contact an attorney today to learn more about your right to compensation.