It is profoundly frustrating when people don’t get a perfectly obvious message. For instance, there is no conceivable way that anyone can say that smoking is good for you. Every bit of available evidence points to the fact that cigarettes lead to lung cancer, heart disease and emphysema, yet people still continue to either start smoking or continue to smoke.
There is also no way that anyone can make the argument that drinking and driving is perfectly safe. Study after study has proven that drinking and driving is incredibly dangerous and irresponsible, and the thousands of deaths and injuries that happen every year are certainly evidence enough. Yet people still get behind the wheels of their cars after having one, two or several drinks.
Human beings don’t seem to learn very quickly. We don’t think that it’s because we as a species are stupid. It’s probably more along the lines that we are blessed (and cursed) with a particularly strong strain of optimism. “Bad things happen to other people, not me.”
One example of this is the thoroughly modern and thoroughly dangerous trend of talking, texting or otherwise using your phone while operating a motor vehicle. There has been no shortage of studies done on how dangerous this practice can be, yet day after day we are presented with real world examples as to how dangerous distracted driving can be.
On any given day, 15 people are killed and over 1,200 are injured due to a distracted driving- related accident. In 2009 alone, 5,400 people were killed and 448,000 people were injured because of distracted driving. In 2006, the University of Utah put out a study claiming that drivers who used cell phones behind the wheel (be they handheld or handsfree) were as functionally impaired as drivers who had been drinking. The sheer number of people in this country who simply can’t wait until they get off the road before they send that next text implies that they aren’t taking either the studies or the high number of accidents seriously.
We would like to think that things would be done a little differently here in the D.C. area. By all accounts, Washington, D.C and the suburbs of Northern Virginia and southern Maryland are all areas where smart people congregate. There is a higher percentage of people with advanced degrees here than anywhere else in the country. But it appears that when it comes to careening down the road while otherwise occupied with a cell phone, there isn’t much of a difference between here or anywhere else.
A well-known blogger here in Washington, D.C. recently took his camera to a corner in Georgetown. P Street and Wisconsin, to be specific. He sat there for five minutes, with the idea of taking a picture of everybody who happened to be driving while either talking, texting or otherwise using a cell phone. Five minutes, five cars with phone-using drivers. Three of them were texting, two of them were talking. That means all of them had their minds on something else besides the road in front of them, two of them had one hand off the wheel, and the other three had one hand and both of their eyes off the wheel. And this was an average of one a minute.
We would like to be optimistic and say that this was just a fluke, but if you were to park yourself on any corner in Silver Spring, Bethesda, Arlington, Alexandria, Prince Georges, Montgomery County or the District, you would probably find the exact same scenario, which is every fourth or fifth driver doing everything except paying attention to the road.
As car accident lawyers in the D.C. area, we have represented enough victims of car accidents to know that texting while driving is never a good idea. It’s just as bad an idea as drinking and driving. There isn’t anything so important that it can’t wait until you aren’t going 70 miles an hour. Please don’t text and drive.
Greenberg and Bederman is a car accident law firm located in Silver Spring, Maryland. We are currently offering legal assistance to those who have been injured in car accidents due to the negligence or recklessness of other drivers. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact Greenberg & Bederman today for a free consultation.