Texting and driving is a deadly combination. Not only is it dangerous, it’s illegal in 11 states for all drivers. In fact, some states will be using distracted driving as a primary enforcement measure, which means an officer may cite a driver just for using a hand-held cell phone, without any other traffic offense taking place.
Young and inexperienced drivers are the group at the greatest risk. Some startling statistics include:
- In 2011, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver.
- 40% of all American teenagers say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger.
- 11% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash.
- Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted.
- 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.
- 16% of all distracted driving crashes involve drivers under the age of 20.
And as these numbers continue to climb, more and more companies are offering programs that help educate novice drivers about the dangers of texting and driving. Programs such as Distractology and In-Control were developed in the hopes of reversing this alarming trend. There are also resources for parents such as the Parents are the Key webpage on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.
Some carriers also offer apps or devices that can be plugged into a vehicle to prohibit the use of cell phones while in the vehicle. There are smartphone and iPhone apps available for download which will prohibit the use of text messaging features or only allow calls to be picked up through a hands free device such as Bluetooth. Some of these apps allow for three “VIP” contacts, which allow you to receive text or calls from three phone numbers. These can be programmed to Mom and Dad, 9-1-1, etc. Every other incoming text will receive an automatic text response that says you are driving and will return the text once you reach your destination.
Have you ever been in a car when distracted driving caused an accident or put you in danger in some other way? If so please tell us about it in the comments section below.
For more statistics like the ones listed above, visit http://www.distraction.gov.
Yes, we have had some issues with texting drivers on the interstate and 4 lane roads. They tend not to stay in their lane! Would be curious to see what the crash rate is for those not staying in their lane.
Thanks for reading. Distraction.gov is a great website which has all types of facts and figures regarding distracted driving. That might be a good place to start.
John A. Tessier CISR, CPPL
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