Each year, about 1,300,000 people are killed in road accidents. This is a mind-numbing number of deaths for the worst reason in the world. This means that over 3,000 people die every single day due to collisions on the road. With numbers like that, you start to wonder how the world is still on the way to overpopulation.
Road accidents can happen anywhere in the world, and at any time. It is one of the most random, split second things that can ever occur. Everything can go wrong because of one tiny twitch of a hand at the wrong moment. People travel at such high speeds in the world now that nearly every accident is either fatal or leaves someone critically injured, or disabled.
Mobile phones and the road
This has been made even worse because we are now living in an age of technology. Everything we see around us is full of tech. The internet dominates all human life. In the U.S., this is so much more apparent than in other countries. People use the internet all the time, and most of their lives are connected to it so deeply that they would be nowhere without it.
In addition to the internet, there is the fact that we have mobile technology for everyone now. Back in the day, having a wired phone was a massive deal. Now, even homeless people have cell phones. One of the cardinal rules of driving a vehicle anywhere in the world is to keep both hands on the wheel.
However, people are now so used to mobile phones that they think that they can drive while using them. It doesn’t matter how mad you think your driving skills are, you still can’t text while driving. Unless you are capable of seeing and concentrating on two separate things with equal intensity, of course. This isn’t humanly possible, so you can put that thought away.
From texting to calling to using mobile navigation systems, people are always finding ways to use their mobile phones. It almost feels like they just can’t keep their paws off those screens, not even for the time it takes to drive from point A to point B every day.
Texting while driving is an epidemic, and it must be cured before it is too late to do anything about it. In fact, the use of mobile phones in vehicles has to be banned too. There are already a lot of states in the US that have laws against the use of cell phones and texting in the vehicle.
25 statistics that will blow your mind
- 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. This is an astounding number of traffic accidents.
- Of these, 1.6 million have a cell phone involved in them. That’s 64% of all the road accidents in the United States. Over half the road accidents in the States have cell phones involved, and if this doesn’t make you realize just how potent it is, what will?
- 37,000+ people die in automobile crashes in the U.S every year
- Every year, about 421,000 people are injured in crashes that have involved a driver who was distracted in some way.
- Each year, over 330,000 accidents caused by texting while driving lead to severe injuries. This means that over 78% of all distracted drivers are distracted because they have been texting while driving.
- 1 out of 4 car accidents in the US are caused by texting while driving.
- Texting and driving is 6 times more likely to get you in an accident than drunk driving. That’s right, it is actually safer for someone to get wasted and get behind the wheel than to text and do it.
- It takes an average of three seconds after a driver’s mind is taken off the road for any road accident to occur. This is the bare minimum amount of time it takes, and it is surprisingly small. Three seconds is the time it takes to turn your ignition when starting your car.
- Reading a text message while driving successfully distracts a driver for a minimum of five seconds each time. This means that the chances of an accident occurring while reading a text is extremely high indeed.
- The average speed in the US is about 55mph. Taking five seconds to read a text in this time means that the driver travels the length of a football field without looking at the road, or being distracted. There are so many vehicles on the road now that this means there is a huge chance of something terrible happening in this distance.
- When you text while driving, the time that you spend with your eyes off the road increases by about 400%. It is already dangerous enough to be distracted by NATURE while driving. So why make things 4 times as bad by texting?
- The chances of a crash because of any reason is increased by 23 times when you are texting. Even if the crash is another driver’s fault, you will probably have been able to avoid it if you had been looking at the road instead of the phone.
- When you compare this to the 2.8 times more risk that dialing a number on a phone imparts, you know that you are playing with fire.
- Every day, 11 teenagers die because they were texting while driving.
- 94% of teenagers understand the consequences of texting and driving, but 35% of them admitted that they do it anyway.
- Of all the teenagers ever involved in fatal accidents every year, 21% were using a cell phone at the time of the accident.
- Teen drivers have a 400% higher chance of being in a car crash when texting while driving than adults.
- 25% of teens respond to at least one text while driving, every single time.
- 10% of adults and 20% of teenagers have admitted that they have entire conversations over text message platforms while driving.
- 82% of American teenagers own a cell phone, and use it regularly to call and text message.
- 52% of these talk on the phone while driving, and 32% text on the road.
- When polled, 77% of adults and 55% of teenage drivers say that they can easily manage texting while driving.
- When teens text while they drive, they veer off lane 10% of their total drive time.
- A study at the University of Utah found out that the reaction time for a teen using a cell phone is the same as that of a 70 year old who isn’t using one.
- 48% of kids in their younger teenage years have been in a car while the driver was texting. Over 1600 children in the same age group are killed each year because of crashes involving texters.
Why do so many teenagers text while driving?
Teenagers have a very sad excuse when they are asked why they do it when they know the risks. The standard excuse is that they have seen adults do it too. Good parenting involves leading by example. If you are a parent and you take your kid on a drive, and you text, you are making it seem to them as if texting and driving is something “cool” to do.
No amount of justification makes it okay
People tend to give all kinds of excuses when they are asked why they text while they drive. For most, it is that some texts are too important to be ignored. However, as one grieving mother puts it, no text message is more important than your own life.
You don’t want to be remembered by an unfinished sentence. Nothing is as important as you are. You should always remember this, because if you take your eyes and your mind off the road for more than three seconds, you are likely to wind up dead.
Another common excuse is that it is easy for them. According to a lot of people they “hold the phone up to windshield level so that it is easy to look at the road”. This is, to all intents and purposes, a steaming pile of fresh bovine excrement. No matter where you hold your phone, you can only give your full focus to one task at a time. You are a human, not a Hindu god.
One of the most “normal” ways to text while driving is to do it at a stop light. Confession: I’ve done this too. However, right after a text, what if there is a vehicle behind you tooting its horn? You are going to immediately shift gears and blow through the intersection. Your mind will still be distracted, so you won’t even see the 18 wheeler to your left until it is just too late.
What is being done about it?
Governments in the US have not been idle. In response to the rising statistics involving texting and driving, and the use of mobile phones in general while driving, a number of states have some sort of law in place to prevent this from happening too often.
For D.C. and 10 other states, there are bans in place that effectively prevent uses from using any handheld mobile device while driving. This means no holding your phone for any purpose whatsoever, even if it is to check the time. Most vehicle radios have a clock on them for this purpose anyway!
This also means that you aren’t allowed to answer calls or look at what that notification that just arrived was about. In fact, you just need to pull over and answer if it is so important! This will take you all of one minute, but it seems like a lot of people can’t spare 60 seconds to save their life.
32 states, plus D.C, have a law against new drivers and young adults from using their cell phones on the roads. This is because the highest incidence of cell phone related accidents tends to come from teenagers. While being on the phone at any age is a life or death issue, the experience that older drivers have does reduce the risk factor by an infinitesimal percentage.
Out of the 52 states, 40 including D.C. expressly forbid all drivers from texting on their phones. While using maps and navigation is permissible, there is absolutely no text messaging or reading of texts while driving.
What can I do to stop myself and my kids from texting?
If you are a parent, there are a couple of things that you can do to stop yourself, and your teenagers from texting behind the wheel. For your kids, there is something known as a drivecam, which records live video of what is going on in the driver’s seat, and sends you updates.
For everybody, there are apps on Android and iOS that block all text messages and all messaging platforms for the duration of the drive. For example, AT&T has a drive mode app which stops all incoming and outgoing text messages while you are behind the wheel.