One example of severe risk to the lives of Americans is distracted driving. In 2018, this dangerous, but common practice, killed 2,841 people across the country. Victims included the drivers, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians, indicating any one of us could be killed by a distracted motorist.
The risks associated with texting and driving are now well-known. Studies have shown that texting and driving can lead to a person taking their eyes off of the roadway for about five seconds. In that small window of time, a motorist traveling at 55 miles per hour can travel a distance equal to a football field. Essentially, a person texting is like a blindfolded person driving the length of a football field.
The number of such collisions is likely far higher, but drivers who cause a crash because of distraction are not often going to volunteer that information. There is no test to determine if the person was distracted like there is for determining alcohol impairment.
The laws designed to prevent this risky behavior vary by state. Illinois, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, and Rhode Island are considered to have the strictest laws regarding distracted driving. The states with the laxest laws include South Carolina, Alabama, Texas, Missouri, and Montana.
Cellphones create distractions beyond texting, and even when using hands-free calling or navigation systems, these devices can present risks.
In addition to fatal crashes, distracted driving causes about 700 collision-related injuries every day in the United States.
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