While driving on a recent afternoon with a friend, the car ahead suddenly veered leftward and almost crossed over the double yellow line into oncoming traffic. Luckily, the driver corrected in time, and then veered just as suddenly back into his own lane. I commented he must be drunk, but my traveling companion probably more correctly guessed they were texting and observed “texting is the new drunk.”
By the Numbers
We know drunk driving is one of the deadliest driving behaviors. The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) estimates over 10,000 people died due to alcohol impaired driving in 2016, which amounts to one death every 50 minutes in the United States. This amounts to 28% of all driving deaths.
While distracted driving doesn’t account for that many deaths in a year, in 2016 NHTSA estimated almost 3,500 deaths, or roughly one third of the number of drunk driving deaths, were attributable to distracted driving. This number seems to be climbing year to year, while alcohol-related deaths have been on the decline for the last decade. Furthermore, in addition to deaths, NHTSA estimates just less than 400,000 people were injured in 2015 due to distracted driving.
While texting isn’t quite the new drunk…yet, texting and other distracted driving deaths are on the increase, while alcohol deaths or on the decline.
Types of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is defined as any activity that redirects your attention to something other than the primary task of driving. This can include eating, putting on makeup and other forms of grooming, reading, adjusting vehicle controls such as tuning the radio, even talking to passengers in some cases.
Driving distractions can be classified as Visual, Manual, and Cognitive. Visual distraction is taking your eyes off the road for a short period; Manual distraction has to do with taking your hands off the steering wheel; and Cognitive distraction means taking your mind off the road. Texting while driving is dangerous because it causes all three types of distraction in the same activity.
While it’s estimated the average text message requires only five seconds, at 55 mph in five seconds you’ll travel the length of a football field. Ask yourself if you would close your eyes behind the wheel and drive that speed or higher. Driving is a dynamic and ever-changing environment and safety threats can occur in an instant.
Nevada Law on Distracted Driving
While distracted driving certainly involves more than just texting and holding a cellphone, Nevada is following the lead of several other states and, in October 2011, passed a law prohibiting texting and handheld cellphone use while driving. The fine for a first-time conviction of an infraction under this law is $50 for the first time within a seven-year period, $100 for the second, and $250 for the third and subsequent convictions. Fines may double if the infraction occurs within a work zone. The first offense is not treated as a moving violation.
Ticket Busters can help with your ticket
If you receive a ticket in Clark County, Nevada, or surrounding areas covered by Clark County Courts, Ticket Busters will represent you with your case with the appropriate court. We’ll handle your court appearances and, in most cases, can negotiate your moving violations to the equivalent of a parking ticket. This saves you time, points on your driving record, and increases to your insurance rates. If you got a ticket, call us today at (702) 666-6666.