The Risks of Text Messaging While Driving

Smart Phones in Vehicles

People seeking Cheap Car Insurance in Texas often look for ways to become safer drivers. Many auto insurance companies reward safe drivers with low rate quotes.

One way to remain safer on the road likely involves reserving “hands on” smart phone use for times when you don’t find yourself behind the wheel. Auto insurance providers hope to encourage safer driving by discouraging keyboarding on the road by drivers.

Voluntarily Restrictions

Today, the vast majority of states prohibit texting while driving. Only Arizona and Montana don’t regulate this area. However, Texas and Missouri ban drivers from sending text messages under very limited circumstances. Studies of distracted driving conducted on behalf of the auto insurance industry and other concerned groups suggest that safe drivers should strive to exceed the standard set by the current Texas regulations.

Why? For one thing, sending a text message requires a driver to withdraw attention from the road. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (the “IIHS”) reports that of 44,574 fatal car accidents occurring in the United States during 2013, fully 2,959 involved distracted drivers. Some 427 drivers that year admitted to using a cell phone while driving. The IIHS argues that cell phone use likely contributes significantly to the problem of distracted driving. Since auto insurance companies support safe driving, these firms hope to discourage drivers from taking their attention off the road.

Texas Laws

Currently, the IIHS website indicates that Texas forbids all drivers under the age of 18 from sending text messages or using a cell phone while driving. The same restrictions apply to drivers of any age while traveling on public school property or through school crossing zones when reduced speed limits take effect. Bus drivers carrying minor passengers cannot text at any time.

However, Texas lacks the comprehensive ban on texting that applies in most other states. Auto insurance companies might face fewer claims if Texas adopted a broader ban on text messaging. If accident rates declined, auto insurance would cost less.

Reason For Concern

The auto insurance industry and safety experts considered safety information important.Recent studies reveal that younger drivers rely on cell phones far more extensively than older drivers. Another study conducted several years ago in Virginia discovered that drivers using cell phones in the car spent roughly 7% of their driving time talking or listening to conversations through these device. Possibly an updated study covering smart phones would generate similar statistics.

One recent “meta analysis” considered by the auto insurance industry examined results from 28 separate studies of driving behavior monitored with instruments. The results revealed a disturbing fact: reading or responding to text messages significantly slows driving reaction speeds. Researchers found that drivers in this situation removed their attention from the road. They allowed vehicles to drift more widely across lanes. These studies suggest that safe drivers should refrain from attempting to text and drive simultaneously.