Man texting on phone while driving

Texting and Driving Accidents Increase During the Holiday Season

By Jamie Howell

If they ever remake the song “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” Elmo & Patsy might want to include a verse about distracted driving. While we don’t know for sure if putting down his phone is a problem for Santa, we do know that texting and driving has become one of the leading causes of accidents during the holiday season.

Too often, the Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman team is called on to assist families in Shelby County, Tennessee, and Desoto and Tate counties in Mississippi whose loved ones have been injured in accidents where cell phone use played a role. We see a marked increase in these accidents during the period from Thanksgiving to New Years. 

Why do texting and driving accidents increase during the holidays? 

There is not much research out there on what causes an increase in texting and driving during the holiday season, but there could be several factors at play. The increase could be because people want to give their loved ones a heads up that they are on the way, or have been delayed. It could be because the drive is longer and the driver gets bored and can’t resist the temptation of checking his or her phone. Or it could be that the driver is simply addicted to looking at their phone, and will not avoid doing so while behind the wheel. 

It might also be that the rate of texting and driving remains the same, but the risk of it is amplified by the number of cars on the road, the fact that people are often in a hurry to get where they are going this time of year, and the potentially hazardous road conditions that arise when the temp drops. 

What we do know, is that according to data collected by the National HIghway Traffic Safety Administration, over 3,000 people are killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers each year. “Texting is the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.”

Texting is also particularly dangerous because the driver must devote visual, manual, and cognitive attention to the task. The more focus that is put on the phone, the less brain power the driver is devoting to driving.

The Lawyers That Listen

Too often, what should be a joyful season of celebration is ruined by a driver that prioritizes their phone over keeping themselves and other people on the road safe. Like drunk driving, this is a choice. Drivers who make that choice must be held accountable when they end up harming others. 

If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident caused by someone who was texting and driving, and you are ready to seek compensation for the harm you have endured, Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman’s experienced team of attorneys is here for you. We serve clients in Shelby County, Tennessee, and Desoto and Tate counties in Mississippi, as well as the surrounding area. Please contact us today to set up a meeting.

About the Author
Jamie W. Howell, Jr. is a Partner at Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman and was admitted to the Mississippi Bar in 1988 and the Tennessee Bar in 1993. Mr. Howell is admitted to practice in all courts in Mississippi and Tennessee, including Federal Court, the Fifth and Sixth Circuit Courts of Appeal, and the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Howell's areas of practice include wrongful death, personal injury, criminal defense, Social Security Disability cases, and general civil law. For his first five years of practice, he was an associate attorney with Gilder Law Firm. After spending his next six years as a sole practitioner in DeSoto County, Mr. Howell joined forces with Jefferson D. Gilder to form Gilder & Howell, P.A. in June 2000. He is now a shareholder at Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman, which combined the talents of Gilder & Howell, P.A., and Chatham – Pittman. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Mr. Howell through our contact form.