Texting may elicit unsafe driving behaviors from self and others

Readers likely know examples of behaviors that might constitute negligent driving, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or texting behind the wheel. Other studies have compared texting behind the wheel to the level of impairment presented by drunk driving. A spokesperson for Allstate Insurance claims that texting and driving increases the rate of an accident by 23 times. With data like that, it’s easy to see why evidence of distracted driving may convince jurors of negligence in an auto accident case, resulting in a damages award to the crash victim.

Yet even if a driver is not distracted or impaired, a recent article cautions that the higher volume of traffic over the Memorial Day holiday weekend may require extra patience. Indeed, negligent driving may result from something as simple as anger over another driver’s road behavior. In that regard, the results of a recent Expedia survey may come as a surprise. According to the data, nearly 70 percent of drivers say that texting while driving is the leading behavior that might infuriate them.

Yet texting may also have a surprising effect on other drivers, especially if it induces road rage in them. Anger behind the wheel could possibly create a very dangerous driving environment. For example, an infuriated driver might tailgate or try to pass someone who is texting. Cutting off a driver under unsafe conditions could possibly lead to a motor vehicle accident.

According to a recent article, state troopers in 15 states along I-95 will be out in greater numbers, in anticipation of the Memorial Day holiday weekend — and the potentially irresponsible behavior behind the wheel that it might entail.  Hopefully, their efforts will not be wasted.

Source: CBS Philly, “Survey: Texting While Driving Makes Other Drivers Really, Really Mad,” Jan Carabeo, May 16, 2014



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