Texting & Driving
Because it's a common—even daily—activity for most people, sending a text doesn't seem dangerous. However, when you're doing it behind the wheel, there are a litany of other factors at play. Driving is a privilege because of the inherent risk and responsibility we all need to assume out on the road.
When you choose to text and drive, you're threatening every single driver around you—and placing more value on that text message than yourself and your fellow drivers.
Texting & Driving Statistics
It can be hard to grasp the dangers of texting and driving, but once you know the facts, this hazardous habit starts to become a reality.
In the United States:
- 26% of all car crashes in 2014 involved cell phone use.
- At least 9 people are killed every day because of a distracted driver.
- Thousands of people are injured every day due to a distracted driver.
- In 2015 42% of teens say they have texted while driving—and texting and driving is the leading cause of death in teens.
As you can see, texting while driving has very real consequences that will only get worse unless we work together to make these statistics a thing of the past.
A Trifecta of Driving Distractions
Texting and driving is especially dangerous because it incorporates all types of driving distractions:
- Visual: Takes your eyes off the road.
- Manual: Takes your hands off the steering wheel.
- Cognitive: Takes your focus away from safe driving.
When you're engulfed in a texting conversation, it's easy to forget you're sharing the road with other people. In just the 5 seconds it takes to send or read a short text message, you've already zoomed past the length of a football field (traveling at 55 MPH) with minimal attention on the road ahead.
Would you want a family member or friend to be on the road with someone so oblivious to the traffic around them? Remember, every time you get behind the wheel, you're entering a shared experience with mothers, fathers, friends, and children.
It is every driver's responsibility to always be careful and attentive, ensuring everyone can safely get from Point A to Point B.
Texting & Driving Is Illegal
With the rise of smart phones and social media, more and more people—especially Millennials—prefer to communicate via text. A majority of U.S. states have passed laws to keep up with the corresponding increase in texting and driving.
The penalties for texting while driving could include any of the following:
- Hefty fines.
- License suspension.
- Rise in auto insurance rates.
- Prison time.
Is sending that text worth the financial burden? Is it worth risking your freedom? More so, is it worth the emotional damage a car accident causes to everyone involved?
The consequences you'll face for texting and driving are similar to those you'd get for another one of the most serious driving offenses: DUI. If you'd never drive drunk, then you'd NEVER text and drive—driving with a BAC of just 0.01% increases your chances of causing a car crash by 46%, according to a 2014 study.
Moreover, texting while driving can put you at a higher risk for an accident than drinking and driving. How's that for sobering?
Break the Habit
Whether you're reading this on your own OR because you're concerned about someone who's likely to text and drive, know that there are ways to break this habit.
If you're the parent of a teen driver, consider installing an application designed to fight distracted driving on your child's smartphone. Teens make up the largest portion of people involved in distracted driving accidents—certain apps can help to combat this by:
- Tracking the miles your teen has driven without incident.
- Sending you notifications.
- Blocking texts and calls from coming in.
- Rewarding your teen for hitting safe driving milestones.
For more helpful suggestions on speaking to your teen about driving distractions, head over to our Parents & Distracted Driving guide. Remember, YOU set the example.
Be sure to invite your friends and family to take the pledge to end distracted driving. Taking this commitment seriously can lead to safer roads, fewer crashes, and most of all, fewer completely preventable fatalities.
Work with your loved ones on strategies to decrease the chances of texting while driving. If you know you'll be driving, give those with whom you normally communicate a heads up. Then, once you've reached your destination, let them know you're free to text and talk as usual.
Finally, if you're in the car with someone who's texting and driving, DON'T HESITATE to tell them to stop. Give them the facts—they're putting your life in danger, not to mention the lives of everyone else on the road just for the chance to send a text message. There's no shame in making the roads a safer and distraction-free environment.