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A Crackdown is Coming for Drivers Who Text

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A distracted driver is a risk to more than just themselves. If you make a habit of checking or even sending text messages while driving it’s long past time to put that habit behind you. From the dangers it poses to the financial gamble you take with each message, here are the best reasons not to pick up your phone and use it while behind the wheel.

Texting is one of the leading driving risks

27% of all accidents involve a cell phone. The National Safety Council reports that cell phones are responsible for over 1.6 million crashes every year, with nearly 400,000 per year are caused by drivers who were texting. The average text takes five seconds of your focus, which is enough time to drive the length of a football field on the highway.

There are simple alternatives

The simple reality of driving with a phone is that it is tempting to pick it up and give it a glance. We spend more and more time on our mobile devices with each passing year, so time spent unable to access them becomes increasingly difficult to manage. Fortunately, there have been several developments which make it easier to stay safe. Hands-free modes can read out your texts and allow you to dictate responses, while automated responses let those who contact you know that you are currently driving and cannot answer them at the moment so you don’t have to worry about seeming rude if you wait to respond.

Classifications are going up

One way that regulators are trying to crack down on texting while driving is to change the way it is classified. In Florida and other states, it has become a primary offense. This means that an officer does not need another reason to pull you over. The act of looking down at your phone is reason enough for an officer to pull you over and potentially charge you, which means you can’t sneak a peek even if you’re following all other traffic laws at the time.

Fines hit your wallet now

As the risk of accidents became more apparent legislators have sought to limit distracted driving by increasing the penalties. That means that fines for violations with your phone can cost hundreds of dollars even for a first offense, with a rapid escalation and even loss of license for repeat offenders. Just one look at your screen can cost you greatly, so don’t do it.

Points continue to cost you

One of the most expensive ways you’ll feel the pain of looking at your phone while driving doesn’t happen right away when your ticket is written. If your violation comes with points on your license the text you sent can prove to be highly expensive for you in the long run. When you take on points it gets you labeled as a more dangerous driver which in turn means you have to pay higher premiums on your car insurance, sometimes significantly so. When you’re paying that extra cost every month the added cost of that ticket gets astronomical.

Jail is not off the table

Driving while texting is unsafe driving and it can thus be used as an aggravating factor in the event of an accident. If you damage someone or their property because you were unsafely checking your phone the phone usage may be used during criminal proceedings in order to pursue higher charges. That can mean earning jail time or additional time to what you would otherwise have been facing.

At the end of the day, when there’s so much on the line every time you look down at your phone it’s just not worth it. There’s no message coming in that’s so important you should risk your life or the lives of those around you by looking down, and nobody wants to face the stiff financial penalties for being pulled over because they couldn’t wait to check a text. Set up automated driving modes or wait until you get where you’re going. You’ll be glad you did when you get there safely and without being pulled over.