Distracted driving kills thousands of people every year, yet many drivers continue to text behind the wheel because they think they are good at managing both tasks. The numbers illustrating the dangers of cell phone use while driving are downright startling. In fact, at any given time throughout the day, approximately 660,000 drivers are attempting to use their phones while behind the wheel of an automobile.
The National Safety Council also reports:
- Cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year.
- 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.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is trying to determine how many drivers are texting and causing accidents, but coming up with an accurate estimate is difficult.
According to NBC News, experts say police need to have distraction-related questions on their accident reports. Currently only some do. This means that only some accidents caused by texting while driving may be reported as such. In other words, distracted driving crashes are under-reported.
A 2013 survey from State Farm sought to get the public’s input on how often distracted driving occurs. About 35% of respondents admitted to sending or receiving a text message behind the wheel. This figure is especially troubling when you consider that it has climbed from 31% in 2009.
The same study found that three-fourths of those surveyed supported an all-out ban on texting while driving and more than half supported a prison sentence for causing a fatal crash while texting.
A study this year from Sustainable Strategic Management found that 4 out of 5 college students texted while driving, the Los Angeles Times reported. Many of them (especially males) downplayed the danger, believing their own driving skills would save them from an accident.
Women in the study sent more text messages than men on any given day, but men were more likely to text impulsively behind the wheel. The researchers suggested that this is because women were more likely to recognize the dangers of texting while driving. According to the LA Times, the men in the study showed less appreciation of the dangers of texting while driving.
It seems that distracted driving campaigns are working—people know it’s dangerous. Still, too many drivers believe they are the exception.
Good drivers and bad drivers alike are involved in accidents. Distracted driving, no matter how adept at texting you are, increases your risk of a serious car wreck. Though the laws in the state of Georgia are stricter than those of some other states, we still have a long way to go in curbing distracted-driving accidents.