Texting while driving is a severe problem in this country that causes accidents, injury, and death every year. We are quickly approaching a time when we will have no more drivers born before smartphones were invented, so kids have grown up knowing the dangers of texting while driving, yet the problem doesn’t seem to be going away. There have been multiple campaigns to stop this dangerous act, and states have been cracking down with harsher punishments than ever. Still, many think that they are more attentive than everyone else or that these five dangers of texting while driving never happen to them.
Traffic violation tickets are purposefully high to deter people from committing the violation and being repeat offenders. However, considering the more drastic consequences of texting while driving, no fine seems high enough. In North Carolina, drivers who are caught in the act are subject to a $100 fine and court costs for every expense. That is the most common scenario, but texting while driving is distracting and can lead to more severe fines if you were to, for example, get into an accident, or drive by a school bus with its stop arm out.
Hurting Yourself Physically and Mentally
In an average of five seconds, it takes to read a text message; you can travel the distance of an entire football field. That is 100-yards of things that can get in your way, that is if you manage to stay on the road. Any collision or driving off the road can lead to physical injuries, which could be anything from minor scrapes to major injuries that require time off from work. In this terrible scenario, you will be fined much more than $100 and harsher penalties, including the possible suspension of your driver’s license. All of this physical, mental, and fiscal stress can be avoided by leaving the phone in your pocket while driving.
It’s not just your property that you put in peril when you take your eyes off the road. It doesn’t take that much to swerve into a mailbox or clip a parked car. Again, this can lead to serious criminal charges way beyond that of the $100 fine that you think is the worst you’ll get. Damage caused by collisions is also going to cause damage to your vehicle, which will cost even more money. If you’ve had property damaged by a person suspected of texting while driving and the police aren’t involved, don’t leave it up to a verbal agreement to have your property replaced. Hire an attorney to create a legal document stating when and how you will be reimbursed for your damaged property.
Just because the police let you off with a $100 ticket doesn’t mean that will be the end of the costs for you. Your insurance company will see that ticket, and they may decide to raise your rates because of it.
The worst and most costly danger of all is the potential to kill yourself or someone else. You can put no price on life, but if you kill someone, money will be the worst of your problems. It doesn’t matter that it is an accident; you will spend a good portion of your life in jail if you kill someone. If someone you know has been hurt or seriously injured by a distracted driver, it is essential to contact an attorney right away. You may be entitled to much more financial compensation than you are offered since insurance companies will do whatever they can to save money. Allow an attorney to deal with that part of the equation as you deal with the emotional loss of a loved one.
What is the cost of a texting while driving ticket in SC?
When caught texting while driving, a single ticket is $100 and will not incur any points on your license. The one exception is if you are caught texting while operating a school bus which incurs a fine of no less than $100.
How many people die per year because of texting while driving?
Using information from 2018, we see that nearly 3,000 people died from distracted driving, and almost 400 of those can be directly linked to texting while driving. There were nearly 400,000 injuries related to texting while driving, which makes sense when you consider that one in four car accidents were caused by texting while driving. Perhaps the most sobering of statistics is that 202 children aged fifteen to nineteen were killed due to phone use on the road in the year these stats were collected.
Are Parents Responsible if Teens Get Caught Texting While Driving?
There are no liability laws for parents of teens who text and drive yet, but plenty of people think there should be. There may not be anything actionable linking teens’ behaviors to their parents, but many advocacy groups push for parents to both talk to their kids about the dangers of texting while driving and set an example by not doing it themselves. That does not mean that parents are entirely off the hook. It wouldn’t be surprising if a civil suit were brought against the parents of a teen to recuperate damages. Even if it is not a monetary penalty, parents may still face other consequences from their children’s actions, like guilty feelings or damage to their standing in the community.
Just Don’t Do It
It’s easy to make a list of the potential dangers of texting while driving, but again, most people don’t think it will happen to them. If you don’t want to be on the wrong end of a lawsuit, it is safer to just put the phone down and check your messages when you reach your destination. No text message is that important, and the risks far outweigh anything in that message. If a driver is suspected of texting while driving and causing damage or injury to you or your property, reach out to find your legal options.