Texting and Driving Deemed Six Times More Dangerous than Driving Drunk!
Texting and Driving has been in the news a lot the last few years but despite the media coverage, social campaigns, and changes in law enforcement many people continue to text and drive. This year the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determined that driving a vehicle while texting is six times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated and that it has now replaced drunk driving as the leading cause of car accidents among teenagers. Texting while driving causes over 3,000 deaths and 330,000 injuries every year according to a study by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis.
- One quarter of teenagers admit that they respond to a text message while driving at least once every time they drive while 20 percent admit to sending and receiving multiple messages per trip.
- 47 percent of adults admit to texting while driving and 10 percent admit to sending and receiving multiple messages per trip.
- Reaching for a phone, dialing or texting are a serious distraction to your primary task: driving. These sub-tasks increase the risk of getting into a crash by three times.
- Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds; while driving at 55 miles per hour that is like driving the length of an entire football field, blind.
- 11 percent of all drivers under the age of 20 who were involved in a fatal car crash were distracted while driving. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted while driving.
- For drivers 15-19 years old involved in fatal crashes, 21 percent of the distracted drivers were distracted by their cell phones.
- To date laws against texting while driving are not proving effective: in states with anti-texting and driving laws, fifty-seven percent of teenage boys admitted to texting and driving, compared to 59 percent in states with no texting law.
- By texting and driving you are 23 times more likely to crash your vehicle.
The question is what can we do to stop people from texting and driving? We know that over the years, less people are drinking and driving which can be attributed to public service messages, strict laws and enforcement, and increased social stigma. Cell phone manufacturers could do their part through advertising and developing apps that restrict texts and calls from coming in when it detects the phone is in a moving car.
Lawmakers have been pushing for tougher distracted driving laws including increased fines for talking or texting on a cell phone and stricter measures for repeat offenders. A survey conducted by NHTSA found that 90 percent of drivers support laws that ban texting while driving; 80% support a ban on e-mailing while driving; and almost 75% believe that restrictions should apply to all drivers, not just specific groups such as teens.
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