Texting while driving is continuing to become more common, despite the overwhelming evidence of the dangers it presents. It is estimated that at any given moment in the U.S., 660,000 drivers are attempting drive while using their cell phones.
Messaging Is Mushrooming
CITA’s Annual Wireless Industry Survey, states in 2015, Americans sent over 2 trillion text, photo, and video messages. That is over 4 million every minute. In the same year, over 240 billion minutes of voice calls happened, every month. American are growing increasingly reliant on their cell phones to stay in frequent touch with their friends and family.
According to NOPUS, in 2005, 0.2% of drivers were seen visibly manipulating hand-held devices. By 2013, that number had risen to 1.7%, and it rose again in 2014, to 2.2%. By age in 2014, 2% of drivers 25 years and older were manipulating hand-held devices, but 4.8% of drivers 16 to 24 years old were seen doing so. The survey was designed to only count those people who left little doubt and many sources think that reality is much more frightening than this. One survey found that 20% of teen drivers admitted to texting while driving.
Smartphone ownership is increasing, too. In 2011, 52% of drivers owned a smartphone. By 2014, that had increased to 80%, according to State Farm.
Texas Laws About Distracted Driving
Drivers under the age of 18 are not allowed to use cell phones while driving and this alone is cause to give them a ticket. There’s also another law with stricter penalties covering that age group who are seen texting while driving.
Drivers of all ages are prohibited from using hand-held devices to make calls or send or receive text messages in school zones and texting while driving is expressly forbidden in many Texas cities, including Austin.
Cell Phone Driving Statistics
Texting while driving kills 11 teens every day and 21% of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were distracted by their phones. According to a AAA survey, 94% of teen drivers recognize the dangers of texting and driving, but 35% do it anyway.
In 2013, distracted driving killed 3,154 people and injured about 424,000. 25% of all accidents are caused by texting and driving. The leading cause of death among people younger than 21 years old is auto accidents.
Texting Is the Most Distracting
People will hold their smartphone up above dashboard level and count on peripheral vision while texting, but it really doesn’t help. Not only is a texter’s attention held by the smartphone, but their eyes are focused on it as well, making everything further away out of focus and fuzzy. Taking your eyes and focus off the road is dangerous and peripheral vision will not help.
An average text takes 5 seconds to send. In 5 seconds at 55mph, a car travels further than the length of a football field, with the driver effectively blind.
People Know That There’s a Problem
As a demonstration, they added texting while driving to the driving test in Brussels, and the people taking the test failed that part miserably. Most people tested complained about how dangerous the practice is and some even said that they would rather quit driving entirely than drive on roads where people were texting while driving.
AT&T’s Teen Driver Survey supported the AAA survey and found that 97% of teens know that texting while driving is dangerous, yet 43% do it anyway. This is a problem that can be solved by evolution, as the texters cripple or kill themselves and others, but we must find another solution. Everyone would prefer a solution that results in fewer accidents, injuries, and deaths. Something must happen to convince drivers to let their phones sit idle, while they’re driving.
If you have been injured by another driver caught texting while driving, contact Eric Harron to help you get the settlement you deserve.