Text messaging motorists pose a serious risk on Alabama roads

Texting while driving may impact a person’s ability to drive safely, which could lead to auto accidents resulting in serious injuries or death.

The advent of cellphones has, in many ways, made life easier for people in Birmingham, and elsewhere. For drivers, however, cellphones can be a major distraction. At any given time during daylight hours, about 660,000 people across the U.S. are using cellphones or other electronic devices while they are driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Using cellphones while driving, particularly to read or send text messages, can impact people's ability to drive safely, and thus result in serious motor vehicle collisions.

What makes texting while driving dangerous?

Among the distractions motorists face while on the road, text messaging is one of the most dangerous. The reason for this is because it is a manual, visual and cognitive distraction, according to Distraction.gov. As such, it takes a driver's hands off of the wheel, eyes off of the road and attention off of the task of driving, often for longer periods of time than other distractions.

Removing even one of a driver's hands from the steering wheel can impact his or her ability to safely maneuver a vehicle. When motorists do not have their eyes on the road, they are not able to see and avoid road hazards, or react to the actions of other drivers with whom they share the road. Often, drivers do not see the danger of texting while behind the wheel because they believe they can safely multi-task. However, the Huffington Post reports that one study showed texting while driving resulted in worse reaction times for motorists than alcohol consumption or drug use.

Who has the greatest risk?

In general, anyone who reads or sends text messages while driving could be in danger of causing distraction-related accidents. For some groups, however, the risk may be greater. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drivers under the age of 20 have the highest ratio of fatal collisions involving distractions. This is, in large part, because younger people text message more frequently than older drivers. Additionally, their inexperience behind the wheel may make it difficult for younger motorists to react to situations that may develop on the road while they are distracted.

Working with an attorney

Suffering injuries in auto accidents with drivers who are text messaging can have a devastating impact on people, and their families. Those injured often require medical treatment and care, which can lead to undue expenses. As such, people who have experienced situations such as this may find it of benefit to consult with a legal professional. An attorney may help them determine if the other drivers were using cellphones at the time of their accidents, and explain their options for seeking compensation.