We’ve all done it. Texted while driving. Some of us are still getting away with it. But for how long? The odds are against us and eventually we will all be in a car accident because we were driving distracted or someone else was. Driving distracted encompasses everything from eating and drinking while driving to picking something up while driving. However, it has become synonymous with texting while driving and it has become the most deadly of all distractions. What exactly are the texting and driving facts? How long before we become just another statistic, due to texting while driving? How long before we become another casualty? And what about insurance rates? Let’s take a look.
Some myths regarding texting and driving, or using any technology, while driving have been proven wrong time and time again by the horrifying statistics on car accidents.
- 77% of adults and 55% of teens believe they can easily manage texting while driving.
Busted: Driving while texting is still distracted driving and that means that you are only partially paying attention to the road and the traffic.
- GPS use is ok, because it isn’t texting and usually not on a hand-held device.
Busted: As with any technology or distraction in the car, it still impairs your ability to pay attention to the traffic.
- Using Bluetooth or any hands-free device or app, like voice-to-text is less distracting than hand-held devices.
Busted: Statistics have shown that no matter if its hand-held or hands-free, it still distracts your mind from paying 100% attention to the road and what’s on it.
Texting And Driving Deaths
- In 2018, 4,637 people died in an accident because of cell phone use. That’s up from 3,166 in 2017.
- 18% of all types of distracted driving deaths were attributed specifically to cell phone use while driving.
- What’s more, in 2016 alone, 10% of all teen car accident fatalities involved distracted driving.
Texting Ourselves Into Extinction
- Over 2.5 million people in the U.S. are involved in road accidents each year. The population of the US is just 318.9 million. At this rate, the American people could be extinct in two human lifespans.
- And of those accidents, 1.6 million involved cell phones. That’s an overwhelming 64%, over half of the accidents in the U.S., because we are addicted to our phones!
- It takes an average of 3 seconds to write a text, the same amount of time as it takes to start a car. Sadly, it is also the bare minimum amount of time needed for a driver’s mind to be taken off the road and an accident to occur.
- To read a text takes 5 seconds. This means the chances of having an accident while reading a text has already increased 60%.
Texting and A Football FIeld
- Answering a text takes your attention away from the road for about five seconds. Traveling at 55 mph, that’s enough time to travel the length of a football field.
- Which makes texting as the cause of a crash up to 23 times more likely.
- And teens who text and drive, actually have the same reaction time as that of a 70 year old driver who doesn’t use a cell phone.
Texting VS Drunk Driving
- Texting while driving is six times more likely to cause a car accident than drunk driving. Yes, that’s six times.
- Using a cell phone while driving, whether it’s a hand-held or a hands-free device (statistically proven that there is no difference in the amount of distraction), delays a driver’s reaction time by as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08%.
Texting Eyes (And Mind) Wander
- 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 and deadly.
But that’s not all:
- In one survey, 1 in 5 drivers confessed to surfing the web while driving.
- A Consumer Reports survey done in 2017 reported that 8% of respondents watched a video on their phone while driving.
- Talking on the phone raises the chances of an accident by almost 2 and a half times.
- Dialing a phone number while driving is 12 times more likely to cause an accident!
- According to AT&T’s Teen Driver Survey, 97% of teens agree that texting while driving is dangerous, yet 43% do it anyway. And what’s their excuse?
- According to 77% of teens who answered the survey, adults tell them not to text or email while driving, yet adults do it themselves “all the time”.
Texting And Teen Car Accident Rates
- At over 1000 distracted driving car accidents per year for ages 16-25, the youngest drivers are the most at risk for distraction-related crashes.
- 11 teens are dying in texting and driving accidents every day. Novice drivers already have many road distractions to worry about.
- Even having one other passenger in the car with them can be a great distraction, doubling the possibility of a car accident over driving by themselves. If they have more than two passengers, they just quadrupled their chances of having a car accident!
- The days between Memorial Day and Labor Day, are the 100 deadliest days of the year concerning driving for teens, with an increased risk factor of 26%!
Texting And Driving Ban
- As of 2018, all but three states, as well as the District of Columbia, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, have banned texting and driving. These states have fines and, in some cases, also jail time, depending on the severity of the accident caused. Those states that still allow it are Arizona, Missouri and Montana.
Texting Accidents And Cost
- Including the cost to people’s lives, texting and driving accidents were responsible for $129 billion — or 15 percent — of the overall societal damage caused by car accidents.
- Car insurance rates have gone up 14% for everyone since 2014 because of the dangerous decision to text and drive, even though not everyone is texting and driving. We all pay for their decision.
Texting Tickets And Insurance Rates
If you get a ticket for texting and driving, how much your rates increase depends on your state laws and your insurance company.
- On average, a driver texting ticket can increase your rates by about 23 percent ($346 yearly). For now, most insurance companies only hike your rates if the texting ticket adds points to your license. But some insurance companies will raise your rates, anyway.
- Of the 47 states that have the texting ban, only 12 states will add points to your license. Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Nevada, Missouri (only for drivers under age 21), New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia.
Texting And Driving – Don’t
The latest statistics have shown that distracted driving, including texting, has been the greatest contributor to the increase in traffic deaths. And it will only get worse, unless we accept our responsibility and stop using our phones while driving. The problem still lies in the fact that even if half of us give it up, there is still the other half that can cause distracted-while-driving accidents. Driving defensively has gone to a whole new level. We need to drive hyper-aware of our surroundings and fellow drivers.
Until such time that we only have autonomous cars driving the roadways, texting and driving is just a really bad idea. Actually, any kind of distracted driving is bad. We are right now in a transition period of having manual, semi-autonomous and autonomous cars on the road. It’s just going to get messy out there, according to Deborah Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council.
(Not) Texting And Driving Aware
In the meantime, there are many organizations and companies who have started campaigns against texting and driving, including all four big cell phone carriers. Many communities, especially police departments and the highway patrol, have similar campaigns to the buckle-up campaign to raise awareness. Some companies, like AT&T, with their ‘It Can Wait’ campaign, use pledging or promising to keep the conversation going and not only spread awareness, but stop the texting and distracted driving. It’s just a really good idea to stop the stupidity and drive aware. We need to learn to put our cell phones away before we start the car.