We are all familiar with the dangers of driving while intoxicated, but there is something we do far more frequently than can be just as deadly: texting while driving.
Whether it's typing or reading text messages, emailing, or even just surfing the web, driving while distracted is a dangerous way to travel. Here are 12 important texting and driving statistics:
The Prevalence of Texting While Driving
Despite knowing how dangerous it can be to text while driving, incidents involving the act are becoming more common. Some people may not think that driving while texting can ever affect them, but the numbers indicate a rising trend in the number of phone distraction-related accidents.
1. Using a cell phone while driving is at least partially responsible for 1.6 million crashes each year, according to the National Safety Council.
2. One out of every four car accidents in the U.S. is caused by texting while driving.
3. Among all fatal crashes for young drivers aged 15-20, 10% were a result of distracted driving.
So how exactly does texting while driving cause accidents and death? This type of distracted driving takes away the driver's focus from the road and is, therefore, not able to respond to stimuli outside the vehicle in a safe and timely fashion.
4. The average text message takes a driver's attention away from the road for 5 seconds. If traveling at 55 mph, that means the driver is not looking at the road for over 100 yards, or the length of a football field.
5. The most common impairments seen with those who text while driving include the inability to maintain a consistent lane position, reduced response times, missed traffic lights, and more varied driving speeds.
6. While people who type text messages show the greatest impairment, simply reading text messages or surfing the web also causes a distraction while driving. These actions all require drivers to take their eyes off the road, even if just for seconds.
The Deadly Effects
With such severe impairments that stem from driving while texting, it's no wonder that car accidents resulting from texting while driving can have deadly consequences. The effects can be felt far and wide across the country.
7. Studies have shown that texting while driving increases the risk of a fatal crash from 6 to 23 times the baseline.
8. In the U.S. alone during 2020, over 3,100 deaths can be attributed to distracted driving, with another 424,000 injured -- and that's even with so many people not traveling due to the pandemic.
9. Not everyone who dies in a distracted-driving crash is not even related to the driver or the vehicle. 20% of those who died in distracted driving crashes were not even the drivers or riders -- they were pedestrians, bicyclists, or outside the vehicle.
What Drivers Say
With many campaigns out there that alert drivers to the dangers of texting while driving, people are becoming more informed. However, this knowledge does not always translate into responsible action.
10. 97% of people support a ban on texting while driving, and nearly 75% support a ban on any cell phone use while driving.
11. Despite so many people knowing the effects of texting while driving, over 20% of Americans admit to doing it, although that number is more than likely higher than reported.
12. AT&T's Teen Driver Survey reports that 97% of teens agree that texting while driving is dangerous. However, 43% admitted to doing it anyway. In fact, cell phone use is the highest among drivers aged 16-24.
What You Can Do
Set the example -- for your friends, your family, and strangers, by choosing not to text or email while driving. Sure, in most states, texting while driving is against the law. But regardless of the legal consequences, the increased risk to your life and the lives of others should be the most important factor in determining not to drive while distracted. Contact us to learn more about how you can be a safe driver.