Like any unsafe driving habit, texting while driving creates major concerns for law enforcement and responsible motorists. Each year, thousands of individuals are fatally or seriously injured on major highways throughout the country due to distracted driving. The fault does not lie in mechanical failure, but in human failure.
When drivers are better informed of how their choices not only affect them, but others around them, they are able to make better choices.
I Only Looked Away for a Second
According to stoptextsstopwrecks.org, the average driver is distracted from driving while texting for approximately 5 seconds. Five seconds may not seem like a long time, but so much can happen on the road in just a few moments. A few seconds looking away from the road can mean a serious accident.
Drivers who look at their phones, dial a number or engage in texting are three times more likely to have an accident. It’s one thing to be a top notch driver, but if you reach for your phone while driving, you are putting yourself and others on the road at serious risk.
Who is At Risk?
Young drivers under the age of 20 years old have the largest reported crash rate, due to distractions. This is about 11 percent of drivers out on the roads today. Younger drivers are often distracted by numerous activities while they are driving, such as loud music, talking on their phones and texting. Any and all of these activities put this age group at a much higher risk of being involved in an auto crash.
Almost one half (49%) of the drivers on the highway today under the age of 30 years send, read or text while they are driving. Approximately 60 percent of total drivers engage in an activity on their cell phones while driving.
In 2011, an average of 3,360 people were fatally wounded in distraction-related accidents. This is a small increase from 2012, where 3,328 people were killed. More than 420 people received injuries, which is a 9% increase from 387,000 injuries in 2011, according to the (NHTSA) National Highway Safety Administration.
How Do We Stay Safe?
Prevention is the best intervention, and often the most effective. The more people are faced with facts, the less likely they are to continue endangering themselves and others. Texting while driving takes lives. Being proactive and making a decision not to text and drive save lives. Parents should be aware of these statistics, and do whatever it takes to combat the potential of their teens getting into wrecks. With a new driver behind the wheel, parents may want to create a solid safety plan that includes practice driving tests, assembly of hands-free cell phone usage, and GPS installation.
Research shows that the number of drivers involved in texting while driving is considerably high. Statistics increase and decrease, but the risk of distracted drivers inflicting injury on unsuspecting motorists is high.