As a leading texting solutions provider in the automotive industry, it has become a responsibility of AdvantageTec to further amplify all the cries for help in preventing texting and mobile phone usage while driving. A majority of adults believe they can text and drive but the data proves them wrong. This problem reminds me of a statistic from many years ago – 80% of drivers believe they are the best 20% of drivers on the road. Clearly, this is not possible just as it is not possible to text and drive. On the more humorous side of a serious article, it took German car manufacturers decades to put cup holders into their vehicles as they believed driving should not be mixed with drinking sodas or coffee (which is probably true on the autobahn). One thing we all know is texting and driving do not mix so let’s all put those phones down and drive responsibly. Here is why.
The painful statistics (latest data in 2018 is from 2015)
National Safety Council reports 1,600,000 accidents per year and Harvard Center for Risk Analysis Study showed that there are 391,000 injuries per year in the US caused by texting at the wheel. In nearly 25% of all car accidents, texting while driving was the cause.
And it gets worse.
National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that texting while driving can make you 23x more likely to crash. This is the longest eyes-off-the-road time of all distracted driving activities. Other activities that increase the risk of a crash involving: dialing (2.8 x more risk), talking or listening (1.3 x), and reaching for the device (1.4 x).
If you hold your phone and send text messages while driving, it is the same as driving blind for five seconds as cited by the VA. Tech Transportation Institute and your brake reaction speed decrease by 18% according to Human Factors & Ergonomics Society.
At any given time 800,000 motorists across the country are driving with eyes off the road. Such irresponsible behavior is about six times more likely to cause an accident than driving intoxicated — it is as if you consumed four beers prior to getting in a car to drive says the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
- 77% of adults are very or somewhat confident that they can safely text while driving
- 55% of young adult drivers claim it is easy to text while driving
- 20% of drivers confess to surfing the web while driving
- Many hold the phone near the windshield for better visibility
- 1,600,000 accidents per year due to texting while driving
- 391,000 injuries in 2015 due to texting while driving
- 3477 people died in 2015 due to texting while driving
How to stop texting and driving?
Self-awareness is one of the first steps in preventing this behavior. Set an example for those around you and never text and drive. Be vocal to a driver when you are a passenger and make sure he/she knows not to handle a mobile device when driving and offer to help as soon as they pick up their phone. Set rules within your family and stick to these rules as other peoples lives are at stake. Never forget automobiles are dangerous to operate even when not distracted – I sometimes wonder why I wear a helmet when skiing but not when driving as the odds of a life-changing accident are significantly higher on the road than on the slopes.
So, how can we change people from such destructive behavior?
The first line of defense is the state itself. In 43 states and D.C., it is illegal to text and drive – the graphic below shows penalties by state. Unfortunately, the activity is difficult to enforce and drivers miscalculate the risk-reward utility when thinking about the cost of a ticket, the ramifications of an accident versus the gratification of immediate communication and knowledge.
Technology as an aid:
- Drive cams – monitor driver activity and provide real-time feedback with video.
- AT&T drive mode – a free anti-texting and driving mobile app for Android and Blackberry phones to help you get your hands off the phone while in traffic.
- Text-free driving pledge – both teens and parents can take this pledge by visiting textinganddrivingsafety.com, which was our main source of information for this article.
Ongoing education and media coverage:
As a nation and as individual families we must continue to discuss mobile phone usage while driving. The media must continue to make drivers aware of the immediate and terrible consequences that can result when using a mobile phone while driving. Showing horrid pictures and telling personal stories like the tobacco industry has shown will only go so far – but please don’t stop those advertisements. The greatest thing we can do is individually stop when the urge arises to use a mobile device and know you are doing the right thing for all those around you, may it be your loved ones or the strangers you will never meet.