In General Knowledge for the Family, Physical & Mental Health

Texting and Driving Facts and Stats

With the creation of cell phones, more and more individuals are using their electronic device while driving. While this helps keep individuals connected with work, friends and family, it also places them at a greater risk of an accident. Now, anything that distracts a driver from actually driving is going to be a risk, but ultimately, texting while driving can prove more dangerous than just about anything. Teenage texting and driving is a major problem, as not only does it take their eyes off of the road, but due to the inexperience in driving in the first place, it magnifies the entire situation. That is why it is so important to know and understand all of the texting and driving facts that are currently available.

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Texting and Driving Statistics

In 2011, 23 percent of all collisions involved one of the individuals using their phone in some capacity. While this might be either talking or texting, it is a rather large percentage. In total, these are 1.3 million accidents caused by a cell phone. In general, when someone texts, they take their eyes off of the road for about five seconds at a time. This is the amount of time it takes to look down from the road, at the cell phone and back up again after typing. As Texting and Driving Safety reports, if you drive at 55 miles per hour, you are going to drive the full length of a football field during those five seconds, so a lot can happen during this time.

Texting while driving is the most dangerous action you can do with your cell phone. Calling someone on the phone places you 2.8 times more likely to be involved in an accident, as you have to look down at your phone to find the contact. Talking and listening to someone on the phone places you at 1.3 times more likely to be involved in an accident, and simply reaching for your phone makes you 1.4 times more likely to be involved in a car collision. However, when you text and drive, you are 23 times more likely to be involved in an auto accident than when just driving. This is a rather interesting statistic as you can basically do anything else with electronics in your car and it is almost ever going to be as dangerous as texting, which causes a major distraction.

The texting while driving problem is becoming worse in the United States as 82 percent of teenagers currently own a cell phone. The facts about texting point to at least 34 percent actually admitting to texting while driving, so this percentage is most likely higher than what it shows, and 52 percent of teenagers say they talk on their cell phone when they drive. During the teenage years, many individuals feel they are indestructible as nothing bad has really ever happened to them physically, and they are young, so the chances of anything happening is rather low. In fact, 55 percent of teenagers say it is easy to text while driving and 77 percent of young drivers say they feel safe texting while driving. Teens who do text while they drive actually spend 10 percent of their driving time on the outside of their selected lane.

This does not mean that adults are without fault though, as many teenagers learn from their parents. Due to this, if you are a parent it is very important for you to not to text and drive. As Texting and Driving Safety points out, 48 percent of young drivers have witnessed their parents talking on a cell phone while driving and 15 percent have seen their parents texting while driving as well. In total, children between the ages of 12 and 17 have been in a vehicle where the driver, regardless of their age or relationship to them, has been texting.

Creating some sort of justification behind texting and driving is commonplace. In fact, most individuals who do text and drive say it is safer to read a text then to type one and they only do it at a red light or a stop sign. However, this can cause them to lose focus on the road and even take their foot slightly off of the brakes while reading the text message and composing the message on their own.

Texting and Driving Facts

There are different laws in states that are designed to prevent texting and using a phone while driving. Currently, 12 states ban individuals, regardless of their age, from doing anything with a handheld device while driving. This includes bringing up a music application, accepting phone calls or seeing what the notification on the phone says. These states are spread throughout the country and include California, Nevada, Oregon, Louisiana, Arkansas, New York and Hawaii. 32 states have laws in place to prevent novice drivers from using any sort of cell phone, including hands-free options. Lastly, 39 states have implementations in place to outlaw texting while driving. However, the texting while driving law has actually been found to cause more accidents than what originally went on. This is because before the law, individuals would hold the phone up close to the steering wheel so they would not have to look down between the phone and driving. However, with the law in place, many individuals still text (just like drivers still speed), they just hold the phone down towards their lap so police officers are not able to see this. Doing so actually extends the amount of time the driver has their eyes off of the road.

As a parent, going over all of the statistics showing how dangerous it is to text and drive at the same time, it is very important for you to know your child is not texting. While they might say they are not texting while driving, it is difficult to know this for sure. Thankfully, there are a few features available that you can use in order to ensures this is the case. First, there is something known as Drivecam. This actually monitors your child’s driving activities through a video feed and provides feedback of their drive. This technology can detect if they are using their phone during the time, so you are made aware of it. AT&T has a free application known as Drive Mode. This app, which can be installed on both Blackberry and Android, prevents the phone from being used while a car is in motion. It is possible to detect this through the phone’s GPS.

While some individuals do not believe there is much of a problem when it comes to texting while driving, studies actually show texting while driving is worse than drinking and driving. Car and Driver Magazine performed several tests on individuals to see what can cause an individual the greatest amount of distractions while driving. For someone who has consumed some alcohol before driving, but remains under the .08 blood alcohol content, it is going to take them .54 seconds longer to brake. For someone who is legally drunk at the .08 BAC level (which is enough to arrest someone for drinking and driving), the individual is going to brake four feet later than what they would have without additional alcohol (when driving 70 miles per hour). However, for someone reading an e-mail on their phone, they took 36 additional feet to brake. As for actually composing and sending a text, it took an additional 70 feet to brake. So, if you are ever pulled over for driving a vehicle with .08 BAC in your body (which although your body might not feel it, it does take you slightly longer to react), you have to pay thousands of dollars in fines, potentially spend the night in jail (if not longer) and have an alcohol related offense placed on your record. After a second offense, the fines go up and you are likely going to spend more time in jail, and with a third offense you now have a felony on your hands (and the likelihood of never being allowed to legally drive ever again). Despite this, texting and driving, which is significantly more dangerous, has no possible repercussion outside of maybe a $100 ticket (or even a warning) from a police officer. While anyone could argue about the importance of preventing drunk driving, the fact of the matter is that texting while driving is far more dangerous and you are better off getting in a car with a driver who is at .08 than someone who texts and drives at the same time. This isn’t even taking into account how little experience your teenage driver actually has.

Texting and driving facts imply extreme dangers and texting is possibly the most distracting thing an individual can do in their car, ever. Due to this, it is very important for you to discuss the situation with your children and really lay out exactly what the dangers are. You can also monitor them through the features and applications mentioned in order to make sure, at least for the time being, that they are following the rules.


Read also: The World of Nonverbal Communication.

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