Everyone has their flaws and foibles:  Some people detonate windows with their piercing laughter; others seem to trail dirty laundry everywhere they go; still more respond to any sort of criticism with, “I know you are, but what am I?”  However, no one has a monopoly of annoying habits.  It isn’t possible for a single human being to embody every vexing trait; everyone has a number of positive qualities to balance out the negative in their personality.

However, some weaknesses travel in packs:  Texting and driving, it seems, is often not an isolated behavior, but an overarching mindset of inconsideration (since many of the same justifications for texting and driving can be applied to many other forms of driver distraction).  Listed below is a set of reasons why texting on the road is both inexcusable and, frequently enough, a slippery slope.

1. They probably also drive over the speed limit while overtired and without a seat belt.

Okay, so the above statement is an exaggeration—but probably not as serious an exaggeration as you might suspect.  A recent AAA study found that among texting drivers, 65% speed, 44% drive drowsy, and 29% don’t buckle up.   Of those who claimed not to text at the wheel, 31% speed, 14% drive drowsy, and 16% neglect to wear a seat belt.  Texting drivers may not have cornered the market on unsafe practices, but they’ve come astonishingly close.

2. They don’t need to exist.

No, this is not a roundabout way of saying, “They should just die;” it’s a simple truth:  applications like DriveMode, TxtBlocker, Textecution, and others that block the reception or writing of texts on the road are available to those who just can’t help themselves.  There are, of course, other ways to  be distracted by a cell phone, but none of them are quite as dangerous as texting.

3. They cause 100,000 accidents each year.

According to the National Safety Council, there are 100,000 texting and driving accidents each year.  This is no great wonder:  texting and driving is a full 20 times more dangerous than driving without distraction.  No defense for texting and driving can me made to excuse this:  Except in the case of an emergency, phones should be out of sight of the driver.

4. Their ranks are not comprised of “everyone.”

One common excuse used by young people in particular is that everyone else does it.  However, an AAA survey found that 16- and 17-year-olds are only about as likely to text and drive as they are not to—meaning that 46% of teenagers are in the habit.  While 46% is still a disturbingly high number, it does not constitute a majority; and thus, peer pressure cannot be called an overwhelming factor (even if any amount of peer pressure was a suitable justification).

5. Everyone who texts and drives is violating Utah law.

In the state of Utah, all drivers are prohibited from texting and driving; and the penalty for violating that law is more than just a slap on the wrist.  A simple violation can be punished with a $750 fine and 3-month jail sentence; if someone is killed as a result, those numbers shoot to $10,000 and 15 years.  Even if others’ safety is not important, the strictness of Utah laws should be a stiff deterrence.

While the strict legislation being enacted against distracted driving may cut down on texting and driving accidents in the long run, only time will tell how effective these laws are.  In the meantime, the practice is still cause for concern.  If you or someone you care for has been seriously injured because of another commuter’s abuse of their phone and driving privileges, you or they have every right to expect that their damages will be covered by insurance, the texting driver, or both.  For texting accident victims in the Salt Lake City area, Christensen & Hymas offer excellent service with compassion and integrity.  To contact their office for a free consultation, call (801) 506-0800, or call 1-800-LAW-BOOK for a complimentary booklet on filing claims in Utah.

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