Every time you hear about a distracted driving accident, you shake your head, unable to believe that someone would prioritize sending a text message or going on social media over another person's life. How could they possibly think that their instant communication was more important than driving safely? In the decades you've spent behind the wheel, you have never seen anything more frightening than young drivers who won't take their eyes of off their cellphones.
Feeling perplexed about this is natural for older drivers, who did not grow up with this type of technology and who do not use it nearly as often. It's much different for teens, though, and some people believe the true issue here is that they are completely addicted to technology.
A brave new world
It's a new world out there on the road, and in many other areas: school, work, etc. Technology has advanced so fast in the last few decades that it is giving young people a completely new experience.
"Digital devices have transformed people's lives. They are changing everything from parent-child relationships, to human interaction, to our ability to focus on the task at hand," said one expert. "And particularly for young people who are growing up as digital natives. It has public health concerns."
Among those public health concerns is the issue of distracted driving. If addiction to digital devices makes it impossible for young people to drive safely, everyone pays the price. It's just the same, in that regard, as drunk driving.
Obligations to respond
One related issue is that people now feel like they have an obligation to respond quickly to any incoming message. Their friends know they have their phones on them, and they expect a fast response.
For example, a full 72% of teenagers noted that they felt they had to respond to text messages and email messages immediately. When asked if they checked their phones and other devices at least once an hour, whether they got a notification or not, 78% of teens said they did.
Remember the days when, if someone did not answer the phone when you called their house, you just hung up the phone? This was before answering machines. If people were out and about, you simply could not get in touch with them until they got home. And that was fine. Now, though, teens feel like they can't even wait 10 minutes until they get out of the car to respond to a text message, according to Common Sense Media. And that is a problem.
Have you gotten injured in an accident with a distracted driver in Northern New Jersey? If so, you may be able to seek financial compensation for your costs, and you need to know your rights.