Practical Advice for Avoiding Texting While Driving

Author: R. Christopher Jones, Richmond, VA Personal Injury Attorney

We all know texting while driving is dangerous, but recent studies show that more than half of all drivers admit to doing it anyway. In 2012 distracted driving accounted for more than 3,000 deaths in the United States, with texting proving the most damaging and distracting activity.[1] What can we do to curb this destructive behavior?[2]

avoiding texting while driving

Prevention

One way to prevent yourself from texting in the car is make sure you don’t receive any texts, so that you don’t feel the need to respond. Silencing your cell phone, turning it off or putting it somewhere that you can’t reach it (for example, in the trunk) before you drive can help you to resist the urge to text while driving.

Pause conversations

If you are texting back and forth with someone, let them know you are going to driving for the next little while. Considerate friends and family members will pause the conversation to avoid tempting you into a dangerous situation. You may consider using #X to pause a text conversation while driving.

Set an example

Young drivers are at the greatest risk of being involved in a distracted driving accident. One study found that 25% of teens respond to an average of one text every time they drive.[3] You can set an example by refusing to interact with your phone while you are on the road.

Helpful Mobile Apps

If you find it difficult to stop using your phone while you are driving, there are some apps and devices that might help. The parents of young drivers may want to consider one of these options for their child’s phone or vehicle:

  • DriveMode.[4]  This app from AT&T automatically sends a customized reply to anyone that texts you while you are driving, just like an out of the office auto-reply on your email. This app lets them know that you are not  ignoring them, and that you will respond to them when it is safe for you to do so.
  • QuietZone.[5]  This small device is installed directly into the vehicle, and blocks all text messages and other incoming communications while the vehicle is running.
  • Textecution.[6]  This app does not allow the phone to send or receive text messages if the phone (and the vehicle in which it is located) is traveling more than 10 miles per hour.
  • txtBlocker.[7]  This patent pending mobile phone serviceallows users to designate certain times of the day as text-free periods, preventing unwanted communication on routine commutes.
  • DriveSafe.ly[8] – This app reads text messages out loud and then sends an automated reply. The advantage of this app is that it permits the phone to be used in an emergency.

Conclusion

Distracted drivers are a growing epidemic on America’s roadways. If you or someone that you love has a difficult time resisting the urge to text while driving, the safety features and devices that are described in this article could help.

About The Author: Chris Jones is an attorney with Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen. He works out of the Richmond, VA office and has dedicated his practice to plantiff's personal injury law. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Chris worked as a high school teacher. His experience as an educator enables him to explain complex legal issues to juries as well as his clients.

[3] See Footnote 1.

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