Nearly 500,000 young adults each year are injured due to various forms of distracted driving, including texting, mobile instant messaging, updating social media platforms, sending photos, etc. It's a habit deadlier than drunk driving. We live in a constantly connected world where multitasking is second nature and communicating is instant. Coupled with this compulsion, teens and young adults are overly confident in their ability to 'safely' text while driving.
When it comes to texting while driving, teens are a particular risk group, “The average U.S. mobile teen now sends or receives an average of 2,899 text-messages per month” and apparently some of those texts are being sent and read from behind the wheel.
A study, conducted with more than 900 teens from 26 high schools nationwide, revealed that text-messaging while driving is becoming as dangerous as drinking and driving, in terms of inhibiting a teen’s driving abilities. Cell phone use accounts for 2,600 vehicle fatalities and 300,000 collisions annually.
Yet even while 37 percent of teens rated text messaging while driving as “extremely” or “very” distracting, they continue to send and receive text messaging in their moving vehicles anyway, the study reported.
Interestingly, 52 percent of teens who say their parents are unlikely to follow through on punishment if they drive and text-message will continue to do -- compared to only 36 percent of teens who believe their parents would penalize them.
Not surprisingly, the study also reports the biggest influence on how teens drive is their parents. Almost two-thirds of high school teens say their parents talk on a cell phone while driving; almost half say their parents speed; and almost a third say their parents don't wear a safety belt.
- Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that's enough time to cover the length of a football field. (2009, VTTI)
- A texting driver is 23 times more likely to get into a crash than a non-texting driver. (2009, VTTI)
- Of those killed in distracted-driving-related crashes, 995 involved reports of a cell phone as a distraction (18% of fatalities in distraction-related crashes). (2009, NHTSA)
- Using a cell phone while driving, whether it's handheld or hands-free, delays a driver's reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (2009, University of Utah)
- 20 percent of injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving. (2009, NHTSA)
- In 2009, 5,474 people were killed in U.S. roadways and an estimated additional 448,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes that were reported to have involved distracted driving. (2009, FARS and GES)
- The age group with the greatest proportion of distracted drivers was the under-20 age group. 16% of all drivers younger than 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted while driving. (2009, NHTSA)
- Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (2005, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
- 49% of drivers with cell phones under the age of 35 send or read text messages while driving. (2011, Harris Poll)
- 60% of drivers use cell phones while driving. (2011, Harris Poll)