When we look at the numbers of accidents and deaths in auto accidents caused by distracted driving, it can be startling. It is estimated that during any time of any given day, about 660,000 drivers are using their phones while driving. While it is good that smartphones can be used to keep us connected to others, they can pose serious dangers behind the wheel of a car.
Cell Phones and Distracted Driving
Texting and driving is particularly dangerous because it has several types of driver distractions:
- Visual: It takes your eyes off the road.
- Manual: It takes your hands off the steering wheel.
- Cognitive: It takes your focus from driving safely.
When you are in a texting conversation with someone on your cell phone, it is easy to forget that you are driving and sharing the road with other drivers. Would you want a member of your family or a close friend to be on the road with a person who is so clueless about the traffic around them? Remember that every time you are driving, you are involved in a shared experience with other people who are mothers, fathers, friends and children.
Far too many auto accidents are caused by distracted drivers. Below are some statistics about this growing public health problem:
- According to the National Safety Council, cell phone use and distracted driving causes 1.6 million crashes every year.
- Almost 400,000 auto accident injuries happen every year in the US due to texting and driving.
- In 2012, 3328 Americans were killed in distracted driving crashes.
- About ¼ of all teenaged drivers have said they respond to at least one text message when they drive.
- Almost 48% of drivers admit that they have answered their cell phone when they are driving.
- 25% of drivers say that they will make a phone call when they are driving.
- 14% of drivers in a survey said that they read texts or emails when they are driving.
- Pedestrians who text while walking are four times less likely to look before they cross the street.
- One out of four auto accidents in the US is due to texting and driving.
- Texting and driving makes us six times more likely to have an auto accident than driving drunk.
- Answering a cell phone text message takes away your attention from the road for five seconds on average. Going 55 MPH, this is enough time to drive a whole football field!
- Texting and driving can cause a 400% increase in the time that your eyes are off the road.
- Of all tasks related to using a cell phone, texting is the most dangerous while driving.
- 95% of drivers support a texting and driving ban.
- 75% of drivers support a ban on using a handheld cell phone while driving.
Teen drivers often get in accidents due to distracted driving as well:
- An AAA poll recently found that 94% of teenaged drivers know about the dangers of texting and driving, but 35% admitted they do it anyway.
- 21% of teenagers that were involved in fatal auto accidents were distracted by a cell phone.
- Teenagers are four times more likely than adults to get into auto accidents when they are talking or texting on a cell phone.
- A teenager with one additional passenger in the vehicle has double the risk of getting into a deadly auto accident. With two or more passengers, they are five times as likely.
Texting and Driving Is Illegal
Distracted driving due to cell phones is so dangerous that most states have passed laws banning texting and driving. Penalties for texting and driving can include large fines, license suspension, increase in your auto insurance rates and even prison time if you injure or kill someone.
Whether you are reading this blog on your own, or because you are worried about someone who texts and drives, remember it is possible to break this dangerous habit.
If you are the parent of a teenaged driver, you can install an application on your teen’s cell phone to fight distracted driving. Teens are the ones who are most often in distracted driving crashes. Apps can help to prevent the danger of distracted driving by:
- Tracking the miles your teenager has driven without any problems.
- Sends you notifications.
- Blocks calls and texts from coming in when the teen is driving.
Rewards your teenager for reaching safe driving goals.