distracted driverUsing a cell phone or other electronic device behind the wheel is a bad idea. Texting and driving is an especially bad combination, and a recent fatal accident in our area underscores this fact.

In January, a driving instructor died of injuries received after the car he was using during a teaching session was struck from behind by a distracted driver. The student driver in the car received a concussion. The driver of the vehicle that struck them was immediately suspected of texting while driving, since there were no skid marks at the scene and a witness only saw the truck swerve at the very last instant. When an officer on the scene checked that driver’s phone, he reported that a text conversation appeared to have been ongoing at the time of the crash.

Not News, Not Safe

The evidence has been piling up for years about the dangerous combination of texting and driving, but far too many people continue to ignore it. In a 2011 survey, more than two-thirds (69%) of US drivers admitted to using a cell phone while driving at some point in the previous 30 days. Nearly one-third of them (31%) admitted to reading a text, sending a text, or doing both in the same time frame. In fact, when it extrapolated the results of another survey to cover the entire country, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that at any given daylight moment there are 660,000 drivers on their phones.

Commonly cited data on reaction times and the likelihood of being in an accident claim that as soon as a driver uses a hand-held device their chance of being in a crash with a serious injury increases by a factor of 4. Texting while driving increases the risk of a crash 23 times, compared to fully attentive driving.

Indiana Distracted Driving Laws

In Indiana, it’s been against the law for any vehicle operator to text while driving since 2011, but that law is difficult to enforce. A stricter measure went into effect in July of 2015 which made it unlawful for all drivers under 21 to use a cell phone or hand-held device of any kind, even with hands-free features. It’s too early to tell if the new law has yet had any impact.

A Too Frequent Tragedy

The Lafayette incident was far from the first serious crash involving texting and driving in Indiana. In 2014, a teen was killed when she lost control of the van she was driving while texting. Last spring, a driver crossed the center line while texting and caused a fatal crash. Over the summer, a motorcyclist lost control while texting and suffered injuries that proved fatal. The list of reports goes on.

Do your part to avoid becoming a statistic: don’t use any device when you’re driving and convince your friends and family to do the same.

Help with Indiana Distracted Driving Crashes

If you find yourself the victim of a crash caused by a distracted driver, you should immediately discuss your situation with an experienced legal professional. The office of Wilson Kehoe Winingham has extensive experience with Indiana automobile accident law. Whether the cause was texting and driving, or operating under the influence, or any other condition, our attorneys are available to provide a free initial consultation on your case. Give us a call today at 317-920-6400 or use our online form to have someone contact you.

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