Texting and Driving Statistics
Texting and driving presents a threat to everyone on the road. Despite the fact that most states, including Pennsylvania, have a texting and driving ban, many people continue to engage in this dangerous practice. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is just one organization that collects information regarding texting and driving – according to their research, 3,450 people lost their lives in car accidents where texting was the primary factor. Other compelling statistics illustrate just how hazardous this can be to drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and more.
The Danger of Texting and Driving
The following statistics help put into context why many states employ texting and driving bans:
- In 2014, over a quarter of all car crashes in the United States involved use of a cell phone.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nine people throughout the United States lose their lives each day as the direct result of texting and driving.
- Texting and driving presents an especially dangerous risk for teens – in fact, it’s the leading cause of death for this age group. In 2015, nearly half of all teens reported they have texted while behind the wheel.
- About a third of all drivers between the ages of 18 and 64 admitted to either reading or writing a text message behind the wheel within the past 30 days in the United States. By contrast, only 15% of drivers in Spain admitted to the same thing.
- 341,000 crashes in 2013 involved a cell phone.
- Using a cell phone behind the wheel increases a driver’s risk of death four-fold.
- A driver can safely avert his or her eyes from the road for about 2 seconds. Sending or reading a text, on the other hand, takes an average of 5 seconds.
- Every state prohibits texting behind the wheel, enforceable by law, except for Arizona and Missouri. Texas was the latest to adopt a ban for texting, effective September 2017. The last two states currently have bills in the works that, if approved, would ban the practice of texting and driving.
- Drivers between the ages of 21 and 24 are most likely to text behind the wheel, according to the NHTSA.
Why Is Texting and Driving So Dangerous?
These statistics help illustrate just how dangerous texting and driving can be, yet it is still essential to understand why this can be so hazardous. Safety experts have identified three main types of distractions that can lead to car accidents:
- Visual – a distraction of this type diverts a driver’s eyes from the road
- Manual – this kind of distraction takes a driver’s hands off the wheel
- Cognitive – finally, a cognitive distraction keeps a driver’s attention away from the task of driving.
Texting and driving is a particularly dangerous act because it involves all three types of distraction. For example, a person takes his or her eyes off the road to read a text. He or she also diverts attention from the road to understand what the text says. Lastly, holding the phone itself represents a manual distraction. In other words, a driver simultaneously commits all three types of distraction each time he or she either sends or receives a text.
One of the simplest ways drivers can protect themselves on the road is by removing their cell phones from reach. Resisting temptation by locking a phone in a glove box can be an effective method for protecting everyone on the road. Parents can also help control teen cell phone use with monitoring apps and locks. At the very least, all parents should have a conversation with their teens about the dangers of texting and driving, and enforcing consequences as necessary.