Most states now have some form of laws banning texting while driving and the issue receives a lot of public attention. However, many still ask if it is really such a big deal. Surely, they reason, texting cannot be so distracting that it would make them get into accidents. In order to address such questions, the following statics reveal just how deadly it can be for anyone to let himself or herself fall prey to the temptation to text behind the wheel.
Numbers Don’t Lie
- In 2011, 23% or more of all traffic accidents involved cell phones. This equates to an astounding 1.3 million crashes that year alone.
- One text takes a driver’s attention off the road for a minimum of five seconds. A car traveling at 55mph travels the length of a football field in that amount of time.
- Texting is not the only cell phone distraction that increases the likelihood of an accident, but it is the most dangerous.
- Sending or reading a text increases the chances of an accident 23 times.
- Dialing a phone number increases risk of a crash 2.8 times.
- Reaching for a phone makes an accident 1.4 times more likely.
- Talking on the phone increases accident risk 1.3 times.
- Considering the time and attention cell phones steal from the road, it is little wonder that texting drivers spend roughly 10% of their time either partially or entirely outside of their lanes.
- A false sense of security is pervasive. A full 77% of young adults say they are somewhat or very confident that they can text behind the wheel safely. Of the same age group, 55% report that they find it is easy to text and drive.
- More than half of Americans aged 16 to 17 say they drive while talking on the phone and more than a third of the same age group admit to texting while they drive.
- Lest anyone assume the texting problem rests solely with teens, 27% of adults confess to sending or reading a text message while driving.
- A full 15% of teen drivers report seeing their parents texting while driving and 48% have watched their parents talk on the phone behind the wheel.
Take the Responsibility Seriously
Teens and adults alike have a responsibility to make the roads safer by first pledging to give up distracted driving and then by spreading word about the dangers that cells phones create. Leaving behind a gruesome scene for your loved ones to handle at the hands of a cell phone is something that is 100% avoidable. Lawmakers and government agencies are working to stop texting while driving, but their control is limited as long as the general public ignores the very real threat.