According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed in the U.S. last year, and police across the country are increasingly concerned about the dangers of walking while texting. Walking and texting causes 11,000 injuries a year.
Now think about texting while driving. The National Safety Council reports that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year. Nearly 330,000 injuries occur each year from accidents caused by texting while driving. 1 out of every 4 car accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving.
Cell Phone Distraction Rates Are Alarmingly High.
We hope with a little information, you’ll make the right decision when you’re on the road.
- The National Safety Council reports that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year.
- Nearly 330,000 injuries occur each year from accidents caused by texting while driving.
- 1 out of every 4 car accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving.
- Texting while driving is 6x more likely to cause an accident than driving drunk.
- Answering a text takes away your attention for about five seconds. Traveling at 55 mph, that’s enough time to travel the length of a football field.
- Texting while driving causes a 400% increase in time spent with eyes off the road.
- Of all cell phone related tasks, texting is by far the most dangerous activity.
- 94% of drivers support a ban on texting while driving.
- 74% of drivers support a ban on hand-held cell phone use.
The United States has the unwanted lead in this problem, far exceeding similar accidents in other countries around the world. An astounding 69% of drivers (aged 18-64) in the U.S. admitted to using their cell phone while driving during the previous month. Compare this to a European low of 29% in the United Kingdom or 59% in Portugal.
Texting Alternatives Are Not Much Better
Acknowledging that texting while driving is a danger, some people seek alternative methods of communication. Again, the problem is the basic issue of taking attention away from the road ahead. Use of a headset cell phone is not that much safer than hand-held usage.
There are several apps that can be used to avoid the temptations presented when the driver receives text messages.
- Voice Recognition – translates spoken words into text, but you still have to use your hands to send those messages to contacts.
- Auto Responder – these send out a pre-written message to caller when you get instant messages or email messages. This message can explain why you are not answering at the moment – because you are driving.
- Text Blockers – an excellent way for parents to prevent teens from texting while driving. It disables texting when the vehicle is going over 10 mph.
In addition to these apps, the driver can just pull over to text message or turn off their phone while they are in transit.
Despite the best of intentions, even these texting alternatives are not much better. In the long run, the immense attractiveness texting has for most drivers wins over safety. At least a quarter of all teen drivers admit to responding to text messages every time they drive. Most of those teens and about 10 percent of parents also admit that they have lengthy text conversations while they are driving, including multiple messages to their contacts. This extends the brief initial five second lapse of attention much longer, thus greatly increasing chances of an accident.
Solutions for Texting While Driving
The only real solution to stop distracted driving accidents is to eliminate the distraction. While this is possible in some cases, there are many distractions that laws cannot address, like talking with other passengers, or eating and drinking while driving. Education and training can only go so far to prevent distracted driving when almost half of all drivers ignore those facts and warnings about the dangers of texting while driving.
Governments, safety organizations, parents and schools all offer information that proves how dangerous a combination texting and driving is.
Getting drivers of all ages to not only absorb this information, but to react in a responsible manner to this hazard is extremely difficult. The modern age of instant communications is an attractive nuisance as it applies to texting and driving. A majority of young drivers, those most at risk for causing accidents due to texting while driving, admit they have been told about this danger. Still, they persist in taking this risk. They may only curtail this activity after someone they personally knew died due to an accident caused by a texting driver.
In addition to information, a continuing publicity effort by everyone nationwide is helping to spread this information to drivers of all ages. This issue is fairly new, but as the use of cell phones and other electronic communication devices spreads, it must be addressed at all levels of influence.
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