Distracted driving is a killer. Believe it or not, it’s considered to be just as lethal as driving while under the influence. One of the biggest risks that you take while driving can be found in that small, convenient, all too indispensable trapping of modern life: the cell phone.
Here’s a list of 5 of the most shocking statistics about driving and cell phone use. Once you’re done reading them, you just might give serious thought to never touching your cell phone again when you’re behind the wheel.
1. Actual driving tests in controlled environments have shown that texting while driving can lead to a much longer response and braking time than driving while intoxicated. What these tests tell us is that texting while driving is actually more dangerous than drunk driving.
2. 46% of teenagers admit to texting while driving. Considering the vast number of teen drivers on the road, this is a frightening statistic. Coupled with the aforementioned statistic about texting being more dangerous than drunk driving, we’re left with a rather disturbing impression of the level of danger we expose ourselves to whenever we get into our cars.
3. 13% of adult drivers say that they’ve used their cell phones to surf the internet while driving. This is a sobering statistic that reminds us that teenagers aren’t the only ones being driven to distraction (pun intentional) over those new fangled, shiny toys that continue to revolutionize our daily lives. It also shows us that a surprisingly high number of “grown-ups” are dropping the ball with respect to setting good examples for younger drivers.
4. Every 24 seconds, there’s a texting-related car accident in the United States. So far this year, the number of car accidents directly related to texting and driving is well over 800,000 – and racing towards the one million mark with every passing second.
5. While many states are moving to ban the use of handheld phones by drivers, there’s evidence that shows the alternate use of hands-free devices may be just as dangerous. The reason? Distraction. Sure, using your cell phone’s speaker capabilities or sticking a Bluetooth in your ear may free up your hands to do the driving. But the distraction caused by the conversation itself is considered to be where the real threat to safety lies. The NTSB calls this “cognitive distraction.”
Most of us would never dream of sliding behind the wheel after having a few drinks. But the statistics tell us that there are plenty of people who are perfectly willing to ramp up the danger factor by talking, texting, or web surfing while flying down the freeway at 75 miles per hour. The next time you’re driving somewhere and the urge to pick up your cell phone to find out what your BFF is up to strikes, don’t just think about the danger you’re putting yourself in – but the danger that you’re subjecting everyone else to, as well. And if your cell phone is just too darn distracting to ignore, maybe it’s time to shut it off while you’re going from Point A to Point B.