The Consequences of Texting While Driving
We all have distractions while driving on the road. Pedestrians popping out of nowhere, passengers asking us questions, the radio blaring our favorite tunes, and, of course, other aggressive drivers to avoid are just a few of them. Thanks to modern technology, our cell phones are no exception.
For some mysterious reason, we feel if our cellys go off, we must immediately answer them. From answering a call to texting, we believe that communicating on the phone is imperative. Yet thinking we can answer ‘just this once’ or ‘right quick’ may lead to an unexpected catastrophic event.
H2. Defining the Text Laws
The phrase ‘texting while driving’ legally covers a number of functions involving your cell phone that are carried out during your drive in a moving vehicle. They include:
- Reading material on your phone, whether a text or other
- Viewing material on your phone, again whether text or other
- Writing a text message or email by phone
- Sending a text message or email by phone
If any of these are violated, it is considered a moving traffic violation. In certain jurisdictions, it is treated as a criminal misdemeanor. The violation’s legal clause and weight varies from state to state.
In 41 different states, along with DC, there are bans on all forms of texting, for any type of driver. For instance, some states only considered it a legal matter when there are persons in the vehicle under 25. Of the 50 states in America, only 33 consider this law a priority for enforcement. This means that police officers can stop anyone who is texting while operating a motor vehicle. For 4 states, the enforcement of this law is secondary, meaning a cop could cite the offending driver for texting, but only if he or she is pulled over for a different violation.
The only 4 states that are without any restrictions on texting while on driving are:
- South Dakota
- South Carolina
H2. Why Texting on the Road is Bad
Besides the various results that can occur from simultaneously driving and texting on the road, the main reason it’s not good to do is because it takes the driver’s focus off of the road and onto his cell phone. It distracts him from concentrating on the road and all its conditions that he needs milliseconds to analyze in order to drive well. Being on the phone, for whatever reason, is just not safe for him or his nearby drivers. It impairs his ability to avoid disaster. Statistics have proven that texting while on the road can increase the risk of accident or crashes up to 23 times more than normal. In order to protect those on the road, these laws, meant to prevent or deter this, should be followed and all communication on the phone avoided, unless extreme cases of emergencies.
H2. Main Punishment and Other Consequences
If a driver is found breaking their state laws on texting while driving, his punishment could range from minimal to serious. The actual sentence one can receive will depend on the state the crime was committed, how severe the outcome was, and what the judge decides for his situation. If someone repeats the offense, the punishment also gets more serious.
Punishment can be a combination of the following:
- Monetary fines from $20 to $500 (the amount depends on the state)
- Criminal charges, as a misdemeanor, on record
- Serve time in jail or prison, if the offense causes any injury to another driver
- Driving privileges suspended or revoked
- Vehicle impoundment
- Points placed on one’s driving record
- Mandatory classes for road safety
If a driver is working in a commercial or educational business, when they are committing this crime, the fines become a bit steeper. Commercial trucks or school and city buses can be fined over $2000 for violations in some jurisdictions.
H2. What to do if Involved
There are some steps to take if you are caught texting while driving. If you are the offending driver, the best course of action is to find a lawyer for assistance with the charge. It has become a serious crime and you will need to have a professional help you with your case.
If you happen to be the one that was affected by an offending driver, you too, should seek an attorney, but one that deals with personal injury. Your compensation could be one of these three decisions:
1. Compensatory damage awards. This means you are due a monetary recompense. The convicted driver will have to pay you for your trouble, including medical bills and emotional suffering.
2. Punitive damages. This means that the offender is being punished for his crime against you. It doesn’t include any monetary payment; it could be a sentence of incarceration or mandatory community service.
3. A combination of the first two options.
Being informed with the enormity of a seemingly insignificant thing as texting on the road, there is only one choice for a driver: don’t do it!