30 Nov The Real Risks of Texting While Driving
The Real Risks of Texting While Driving
Not only is texting while driving a danger practice, it is also illegal in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Virginia Code §46.2-1078.1(A)(1) makes entering text into your phone a traffic offense. Specifically, it prohibits “[m]annually enter[ing] multiple letters or text” into your cellular phone “as a means of communicating with another person.” As a result, not only is texting illegal, so is using Google’s or Facebook’s messaging functionalities. Furthermore, Virginia Code § 46.2-1078.1(A)(2) makes it a traffic offense to “[r]ead any email or text message” sent to your phone. This does not include contact information or caller i.d. A first offense carries a fine of $125, with a second or subsequent offense carrying a fine of $250. Although texting while driving has technically been illegal in Virginia since 2009, effective July 1, 2013, it became a primary offense meaning that a police officer can stop and give you a citation solely for texting while driving. Prior to 2013, texting while driving was a secondary offence, which means you would have had to be stopped for something like speeding and then caught texting as well.
In addition to the legal risks associated with texting while driving, it is also a dangerous practice. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported in 2012 that driver distraction was the cause of 18% of all fatal crashes. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that texting while driving creates a risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted.
We all know the risks involved with texting while driving, but what can be done you ask? We can try to be on our best behavior and remind drivers, who text while you are a passenger of the risks, but we can do more. Apple is bringing out new technology that would make it easier to resist the temptation to fire off a quick text. Additionally, there are several free apps available to disable texting and other messaging functionality while driving. These include Drivemode and Canary, among others.
No matter which way you look at it, texting while driving is both illegal and a highly risky practice that we should all do our best to avoid doing.