Texting and Driving Car Accident Statistics in Indiana

texting and driving laws in indiana

People love their cars and their mobile phones, but the two are a dangerous combination. According to the Pew Research Center, 81% of Americans have smartphones. In 2019, the U.S. Department of Transportation estimated that cell phones contributed to 14% of fatal traffic accidents. These facts explain why distracted driving is often an issue investigated by a car accident lawyer when representing an accident victim. Looking at a mobile device screen instead of the road amounts to negligent driving, and that behavior could justify the recovery of financial damages with a personal injury claim. 

Why Is Texting and Driving So Dangerous?

Most people use their mobile devices every day, and the behavior seems benign on the surface. The technology is beneficial but becomes a hazard when people engage hands-only with a mobile device while driving. Information from the State of Indiana breaks down driving distractions into these three categories:

  • Cognitive
  • Visual
  • Manual

Texting while driving represents one of the most dangerous distractions because it achieves all three distractions at once. You are thinking about the message while looking at the screen. Opening a message, scrolling, and typing all require manual operations. On average, sending a text message takes about 5 seconds. According to calculations at PoliceDriver.com, a vehicle traveling at 60 mph covers 441 feet in 5 seconds. Many things could happen on the road while someone is not paying attention. An unexpected traffic event could result in a distracted driver rear-ending someone without even hitting the brakes. Injuries could be severe in such a scenario, and an injured person may want the help of a personal injury lawyer in Indiana to prepare a well-documented insurance claim or lawsuit. 

texting and driving laws in indiana

An Epidemic of Texting and Driving

Mobile device distractions, especially texting and driving, have become widespread. Anytime that you drive, you can see someone doing it if you look. In 2017, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a survey and discovered that 45% of responding drivers admitted to reading a text or email while operating a vehicle. A full 35% of them reported that they had typed and sent messages while driving in the past 30 days. 

If you suspect that the driver who hit you should have seen you, then distraction is a reasonable possibility.  A car accident personal injury lawyer could examine the police report to see if the officer mentioned a phone being present. Additionally, it may be possible for a lawyer to subpoena mobile phone records to see if any activity occurred at the time of the crash. 

Startling Statistics About the Dangers of Texting and Driving

  • A study from Virginia Tech concluded that people are 20 times more at risk of an accident when texting compared to talking on a phone. 
  • According to Drivesafeonline.org, texting while driving is equivalent to drinking four beers in one hour regarding its effect on reaction time. 
  • Drivesafeonline.org also reports that texting teen drivers veer out of their lanes 10% of the time. 

texting and driving laws in indiana

Crash Statistics About Texting and Driving in Indiana

The IndyStar reported that the Indiana State Police blamed over 10,400 motor vehicle accidents in 2019 on distracted driving. Those accidents produced almost 2,000 injuries and killed 19 people. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nationwide, over 2,800 people died because of distracted driving in 2018. Among the fatalities, 27 of the people were in Indiana. 

New Indiana State Law Bans Holding Mobile Devices While Driving

On July 1, 2020, Indiana Code 9-21-8-59 came into effect and barred the use of drivers holding mobile devices, even while stopped at red lights. Drivers may still use hands-free devices, but typing texts or emails or reading and sending them are now fully illegal. The only exception is if a driver must make an emergency 911 call. 

Tickets for holding a mobile device while driving are a Class C infraction that authorizes a fine of up to $500. Additionally, the texting and driving law is a primary law, which means that police can stop drivers who they see engaging in this behavior. 

texting and driving laws in indiana

Addiction to Mobile Devices

 As the passage of state laws against texting and driving illustrates, society widely recognizes the danger of mobile device use behind the wheel. Despite awareness of the risk, why do so many people continue to do it? For some people, their desire for interactions with the mobile device amounts to compulsive behavior. 

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders labels compulsive gambling as a behavioral addiction, and it appears to have much in common with compulsive phone use. People addicted to their phones may have lost control over the behavior and have trouble stopping themselves from checking their phones even while driving. They feel bad when they try to cut back on the behavior and have a tendency to need more phone interaction as time goes by. 

Teenagers are most at risk for this compulsive behavior. Social lives occupy young people’s thoughts to a high degree, and their phones are integral to their social connections. This likely explains why the 15 to 19-year-old age group is prone to distracted driving. Among distracted driving fatalities, 10% of teenage victims were engaged in distracting behaviors when the accidents happened. 

Even short of compulsive behavior, many people feel great temptation to check their phones when waiting on an important message. Conscientious people might want to let others know when they are running late. 

Get Help Investigating Your Car Accident

An Indiana lawyer has the knowledge to identify evidence of traffic violations when investigating a case for an accident victim. Distracted driving is not always the apparent source of negligence, especially if the at-fault driver does not admit to using a mobile device. Police cannot always notice the evidence due to the many demands on their time at any given moment. Legal support could empower you when preparing an insurance claim so that you receive all available compensation related to your damages. To schedule a complimentary case evaluation at Webster & Garin LLC call 317-565-1818 or message us. We are here to help when you are hurting.