Everyone knows that texting while driving is dangerous. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration approximately 23 percent of all traffic accidents are texting related. That is equal to about 1.4 million accidents every year.
Despite these striking statistics people, especially teenagers, continue to use their cell phones while driving. One reason people continue to text while driving is likely because they have done it so many times before without incident. Unfortunately the thousands of successful car trips do not guarantee the safety of the next one. Any driver could be involved in an accident any time they get behind the wheel and unfortunately, according to distraction.gov, most Americans are guilty of distracted driving every once and a while.
Here are some key statistics reported on the distraction.gov website:
- 40% of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell by CouponDropDown”>phone in a way that put people in danger. (Pew)
- Drivers who use hand-held devices are 4 times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Monash University)
- Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted. (VTTI)
- Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind. (VTTI)
- Headset cell phone use is not substantially safer than hand-held use. (VTTI)
- Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%
A recent report from the Associated Press sheds even more light on the dangers of texting. It states that injuries reported in emergency rooms from distracted walking have more than quadrupled in the past 7 years. This huge increase is likely due to the growing use of texting, smart phone apps and other electronic devices, like iPods.
The number of people that have been injured in this way is alarming in and of itself, but the AP remarked that these kinds of injuries are almost certainly underreported.
It may seem surprising that someone could be seriously injured while walking but it serves as a major testament to how distracting a cell phone really can be. According to the NHTSA texting uses 37 percent of the brain that is used for driving. That 37 percent can make the difference between safe driving (or walking) and a serious accident.
According to a recent report by CBS News, texting and driving accidents are so prevalent because texting distracts your brain from focusing on the road in multiple ways.
If none of these statistics are enough to convince you that a cell phone can be very dangerous then consider the experience one teenager had recently after a recent snow storm.
Justin, as a senior in high school, was driving home from his friend Christopher’s house. He was driving his families White Ford Explorer without the 4-wheel drive function activated. Because the streets in his friend’s neighborhood were not salted or plowed driving was very difficult. As he rounded the corner he glanced down at his cell phone for a second because he had received a text. In the brief moment that he took his eyes off the road the back of the car began to rotate and then continued rotating until it had done a complete 720 degree turn into a pile of bricks. The side of the car slammed into a pile of bricks, shattering the backseat, driver-side window. The car continued rotating into a row of garbage cans. When the car finally came to a stop Justin was obviously shaken. Luckily for him there were no injuries and the airbag didn’t deploy. The front and the side of the car were damaged.
Not everyone is as lucky as Justin was. Car accidents can be devastating, leaving the victims with costly medical and car repairs and sometimes even death. The easiest way to try and avoid this is to put your cell phone away when behind the wheel.
Christensen & Hymas is running a pledge campaign right now to raise awareness about the hazards of texting and driving. We invite you to take the pledge yourself on our Facebook page here.