The Dangers of Using Social Media While Driving
The details are horrific, the outcome is very tragic. A 34-year-old Wisconsin woman crashed into an oncoming truck – killing three children in the car. According to CBS WCCO-TV, the woman has now been charged with three counts of homicide by negligent operation and one count of reckless driving causing injury. The woman was thrown from her car and injured. Her 11-year-old daughter and two of her 5-year-old nieces lost their life.
The source of distracted driving in this case was Facebook. Investigators say the woman was exchanging Facebook messages less than 2 minutes before the crash. It took investigators months to find out why the woman drove into traffic, it wasn’t until the snow melted that they found her phone. Investigators pinpointed a back-and-forth chat with a man. The Wisconsin State Patrol report says “It is likely that driver inattention is a significant contributing factor in this collision.”
While we don’t hear tragic stories like this every day, we often observe and may even be guilty of checking social media networks ourselves, while behind the wheel. In the age of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, it is hard to take a break from connecting virtually. The Telegraph last month reported that the rise in drivers using mobile phones while driving is being fueled by the “addiction” to social media websites.
Not surprising, the Telegraph reports young people aged between 17 and 29 are four times more likely to use their mobile phone while driving. According to a survey of tens of thousands of drivers, on average 1.5% of drivers use their phone at the wheel. Even more alarming, the Department of Transportation report found that two thirds of those seen using their mobile phones were using them to text or for access to social networking websites.
Unfortunately, deciding to check social networks while driving can have scary consequences. One study found using mobile phones to access social media sites when behind the wheel can be more dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol. That is a scary thought given how deadly we know drinking and driving can be! Adweek.com reports research undertaken by the Transport Research Laboratory and the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) found that drivers’ reaction times slowed by 38 percent when using their mobile phones to access sites such as Twitter and Facebook whilst controlling a moving vehicle .In contrast, drivers at the alcohol drink-drive limit have a typical delayed reaction of just 12 percent.
We all know it is dangerous, but this addition or distraction is far too common. If you’ve been injured by another driver and you believe they were using social media while or a cell phone while driving, you may have a case. Contact the lawyers of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. for help. We will look into your accident and get you the justice you deserve.
Patrick A. Salvi concentrates his legal practice in several limited areas primarily involving a trial practice in cases concerning serious personal injury, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and mass torts. Mr. Salvi has achieved record-breaking jury verdicts and settlements on behalf of his clients, including serving as lead counsel in obtaining an Illinois record-high $148 million jury verdict and a Lake County record $33 million jury verdict.