Texting and Driving Statistics You Need to Be Aware of
Published: Jan 20, 2023
It's understandable why someone might want to pick up their phone while driving. After all, it's a convenient way to stay connected and engage in business text messaging, and there's a lot of social pressure encouraging people to never miss a message. However, it's important for drivers to remember that texting and driving can have serious consequences. Many countries have enacted laws that ban text messaging and handheld phone use for all drivers.
If you do choose to pick up your phone while behind the wheel, you should make sure to pull over to a safe place first. Otherwise, you may be risking your life as well as the lives of other people on the road. Putting your phone away while driving is the only responsible decision—just don’t text and drive.
Why is Texting and Driving Dangerous?
Texting and driving is a dangerous combination, as it distracts a driver’s attention from the road and increases the chance of an accident. Each day, around 9 people in the US are killed in accidents that involve a driver distracted by text messaging. Seeing how sending and receiving texts diverts a driver’s attention away from the road, the risks associated with doing this dramatically increase.
For example, while a driver is on the phone while driving, they are not paying attention to other vehicles, traffic signals, or road signs. This means they are not able to quickly respond to potential dangers that may appear on the roadway. All of this is even worse when a driver is texting on the road. Moreover, even if a driver can visually scan the road while texting, they are still unable to accurately gauge the speed or distance of surrounding objects, which can again lead to an accident.
In addition, text messaging can actually impair the drivers’ physical ability to operate their vehicles. Studies have shown that texting significantly reduces reaction time and accuracy when making decisions for braking or steering. This reduced physical ability to control their vehicle further increases the risk of an accident.
All in all, texting and driving is a dangerous combination that should be avoided at all costs. Simply remember—no texting and driving.
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Dangers of Using Mobile Phones While Driving
Using a mobile phone while driving diverts attention away from the road and may lead to sudden changes in speed and direction, or the driver losing control of the vehicle entirely.
The use of a mobile phone can impair a driver's ability to concentrate on the road and react to hazards, potentially leading to dangerous situations.
3. Increased Risk of Crash
Studies show that talking or texting on a mobile phone while driving increases the risk of crashing, which can result in serious injuries and fatalities.
4. Legal Consequences
In many countries, there are distracted driving laws implemented that entail paying a fine for texting and driving. A driver caught doing so may face penalties for using their phone while driving, get points on their license, or even have their license suspended.
5. Environmental Impacts
Texting and driving can lead to increased fuel consumption and higher levels of air pollution, both of which can have a negative effect on the environment.
Types of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is a type of reckless driving caused by the driver engaging in activities that divert their attention away from their primary task of driving. This is an incredibly dangerous form of driving, and it is estimated that 13% of distracted driving accidents end in fatalities.
The most common type of distraction is cell phone use, followed closely by adjusting the radio, eating, talking to passengers, grooming, and, in some cases, daydreaming.
Texting and Driving
The most dangerous form of distracted driving is texting and driving. This involves the driver using their cell phone to either send or read incoming text messages. Texting and driving greatly impairs the driver’s ability to react to changes in the environment due to the driver’s attention being diverted from their surroundings to the cell phone. It is estimated that the driver’s reaction time to a hazard on the road is 3 times longer when texting and driving compared to simply driving.
Taking Calls and Driving
The second most dangerous form of distracted driving is talking on the phone while driving. Many states across the United States have implemented hand-free laws to prohibit talking on the phone while driving if they’re using their hands. It has been proven that the distraction of a phone conversation while driving can be just as dangerous as texting and driving.
Adjusting Electronic Devices and Driving
The third most dangerous form of distracted driving is adjusting the radio or other media devices. While this type of distraction doesn’t involve the driver taking their eyes off the road, it can cause their attention to be diverted to the device, which can seriously impair reaction times.
Eating and Drinking While Driving
Another type of distracted driving is eating and drinking while driving. While this type of distraction may seem relatively minor, it has been shown to cause a decrease in a driver’s reaction time and has been linked to an increase in the rate of automobile collisions.
When Was the Texting and Driving Law Passed and Implemented in the US?
The first texting and driving law was passed in the United States in 2008 in the state of Washington. This law made it illegal for drivers to read, compose, or send emails, text messages, or instant messages while behind the wheel.
Since then, all 50 US states have passed similar distracted driving laws, making it illegal to use a handheld device while driving a motor vehicle. Although the laws vary from state to state, they all have a common goal—to reduce the number of motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted driving.
It’s important to note that while the law has been implemented, enforcement and accuracy vary by state. For example, some states have enforced a fine for using phones while driving, while other states only use secondary enforcement, meaning an officer must have a separate reason to pull over a driver before citing them for texting and driving. In some states, the law is limited to those under 18, while other states apply it to all drivers.
Overall, states across the U.S. are taking steps to eliminate the distraction that texting and driving poses on the roads and highways. Drivers are encouraged to look up their state’s laws on texting and driving and to abide by them at all times.
Texting and Driving Laws in the UK
The texting and driving law was first passed in the UK in 2003, under the Road Safety Act. The law was introduced with the aim of reducing the number of road accidents caused by drivers using their mobile phones while driving. It prohibited drivers from using their mobile phones while driving and imposed texting and driving tickets for those who were caught doing so.
Since then, the law has been updated numerous times to reflect the current technological environment. In addition to the texting while driving tickets and penalties, the law has seen the introduction of stricter rules regarding the use of hands-free devices and the display of texts and other content on a mobile phone's screen.
It is illegal for drivers to touch their phones in any way while in control of their vehicle, and a hands-free device must be used if the driver wishes to make a call. Drivers are also not permitted to read any notifications or messages on their phones while driving, and should the phone be in use or on the passenger seat, it must be turned off.
How to Prevent Crashes Due to Texting and Driving
1. Place Your Phone Out of Reach
One of the best ways to reduce the temptation to drive distracted is to place your phone out of reach. Put it in your glove compartment, purse, or another area that requires you to physically look away from the road.
2. Use "Do Not Disturb" Functions
Many smartphones have a "Do Not Disturb" mode that prevents notifications from coming through. Enable this mode on your device to limit the chances of distractions.
3. Set an Example
If a driver sees you putting your phone away while driving, they may be more likely to do the same. Lead by example and don’t text and drive.
4. Install a Hands-Free Device
Use a Bluetooth headset so you can take phone calls safely while on the road. This will allow you to answer calls and talk on the phone without taking your hands off the wheel.
5. Pull Over
None of the above strategies will work if you’re in an emergency situation and need to use your phone. If this is the case, pull over to a safe location and use your phone.
2022 Texting and Driving Statistics to Remind You to Drive Safely
- According to the CDC's distracted driving statistics, 60% of young adults have texted or emailed while driving.
- DriveSafe Online’s texting and driving statistics report that the effects of texting and driving is equivalent to drinking 4 beers in an hour.
- AAA Foundation’s studies have shown that despite 94% of teen drivers knowing the dangers of texting and driving, 35% continue to do so.
- Based on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s distracted driving statistics, more than half a million drivers use their phones while driving at any given time.
How Many Accidents are Caused by Texting and Driving?
2020 distracted driving statistics by NHTSA show that 13% of motor vehicle crashes ended in fatalities because of using phones on the road. In addition, cell phone use while driving was the leading cause of 9% of distracted driving car crash injuries, making up around 29,999 accidents in total.
How Much is a Texting and Driving Ticket?
Depending on the country, a fine for texting and driving can cost anywhere between $50 and $500.
How Many People Die from Texting and Driving Per Year?
Distracted driving causes over 30,000 fatalities in the US, 400 of which are crashes involving texting and driving.