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Texting and Driving – Facts and Statistics of Distracted Driving

article by Best of Bikers’ Peter Fryer

Latest advancements in Automotive & Telecommunication have enhanced connectivity in this age. With the advent of Smartphone, the human race has come a long way with availability of almost every desired piece of information online. But simultaneous use of Smartphone & Automotive is a terrible mix, which is costing people with their lives. Texting and Driving is fast becoming a compulsive disorder for us humans from being glued to our Phone screens and posing danger to the lives of other road users. Distracted Driving Statistics 2016 data shows that more than 40,000 people died in the motor vehicles crashes in 2015 – this signifies a 6% rise as compared to 2015.

These statistics also make 2016 the deadliest year on American roads since 2007. A large number of these accidents are the result of distracted driving, which claimed 3,477 lives in 2015 alone. Concerned authorities are now trying to take steps to discourage and prevent this dangerous behavior.

Underestimating The Distracted Driving Statistics

It is important to point out that there has been an increase in the number of accidents involving distracted driving, but there is strong evidence showing underreporting of driver texting or using cell phone in crashes. This is the reason why there is a great deal of under-estimation of the magnitude of this safety threat.

A study interviewed collision investigators and about three quarters of them said they had been unable to report exactly how many road accidents were actually linked with cell phone use. They said that there would be a significant increase in the figures if they were able to report all accidents involving cell phone use.

Unfortunately, there is no reliable way to determine exactly how many crashes are due to distracted driving, and in most cases, police has to rely on drivers to admit the use of cell phones. Underreporting of these incidents directly affect national prevention priorities, media attention, funding decisions, legislations, and even roadway engineering. With inadequate reporting, the issue is never going to receive the attention it needs, and that is only going to make matters worse in the coming years.

In fact, new studies show that drivers are distracted from driving by certain things up to half the time. The use of cell phones while driving increases your risk of having an accident; however, sending text messages while driving is even riskier.

Distraction from texting is far more dangerous than other activities such as adjusting the sound system, talking with a passenger, or even talking on a cell phone. Texting involves three mental/physical actions – visual, manual and cognitive – and that is the reason why it is far more dangerous.

Steps Being Taken To Prevent The Distracted Driving

The GHSA estimates that up to 25% of crashes are due to distracted driving. This is the reason why the GHSA has suggested that states should take steps to curb distracted driving, and the first step is to ban texting while driving completely. It also says that states should take steps to enforce the existing laws associated with distracted driving.

It seems that states have started to recognize the scope of this problem, as 46 states have already banned texting while driving. In 41states, an officer can cite a driver for texting even when they have not broken any other traffic law. In some states, the enforcement is still secondary. The state of Texas now has a texting ban as well. It is important to note though that the new texting while driving bill would still let drivers in Texas to read or type texts at spotlights.

While there is more awareness regarding texting and driving, things are still in the early stages. Businesses with employees on the road need to pay special attention to this issue. It is usually important for enterprises to equip sales professionals, fleet drivers, and other traveling employees with cell phones, but they have to ensure that they do not use these devices at the wrong time. Thankfully, many companies are now setting up internal use policies and educating drivers and employees about state laws regarding cell phone use while driving.

Smart enterprises are taking things forward by making use of specific tools to make it easier for their employees to manage cell phones while driving.

A good example is the use of a service called DriveSmart, which is an offering of T-Mobile. The service automatically sends incoming calls to voicemail and informs the caller that you are currently driving. This may look a simple tool, but it may really help reduce the dangerous impact of cell phone use in a moving vehicle.

Some Statistics Associated With Road Accidents

Consider somebody going for ride on his favorite cruiser bike, around the same time, a guy driving a fast moving four wheeler around the corner decides to text his waiting family back home and bang! Every other day, we hear of so many dreams being shattered due to sheer negligence, here are some of the road accidents stats that leave grieving families.

  • Each year, more than 1.3 million people die in road accidents.
  • Statistics show that in 2015 alone, more than 3,477 people died because of motor vehicle crashes involved distracted drivers.
  • In the same year, 391,000 people received serious injuries due to distracted driving.
  • Distracted driving is among the leading cause of motor vehicle crashes with more than 9 people losing their lives every day because of distracted driving.
  • Well over half of all fatal road accidents involve young adults between 15 and 44 years of age.
  • You increase your risk of having a crash by 23 times just by texting while driving.
  • More than 400,000 people under the age 25 die while driving.
  • Road accidents cost middle-income countries about USD $65 billion each year.
  • Over 1060 people receive serious injuries because of crashes involving a distracted driver.
  • In all the cases involving distracted driving, 1 out of every 3 people loses control because of texting while driving.
  • About 40% of teens in the U.S. have admitted that they have been in a car with driver using a cell phone while driving.
  • Your brain is 37% less involved in driving your vehicle when you start using your cell phone.
  • About 10% of all distracted drivers involved in an accident are under age 20.
  • Texting while driving a vehicle increases your chances of having an accident by two times over non-distracted drivers.
  • You take your eyes off the road for at least 4.6 seconds when sending or receiving texts while driving. It is enough to cause a fatal accident.
  • Texting while driving is now banned in 46 states.
  • You cannot use cell phones in 14 states and the District of Columbia while driving.
  • There was no texting ban in Texas before, but the Governor has now approved the ban on handheld communications by drivers.
  • Text messaging bans have grown by 62% from 2010 to 2016.
  • Surveys have found that many people do weird and dangerous things while driving including changing clothes and brushing teeth.
  • More and more drivers are now speaking with visible headsets, with the percentage increasing from 0.4% in 2014 to 0.6% in 2015.
  • There has been an increase in the number of drivers visibly handling devices while driving with percentage moving up from 2.2% in 2015.
  • Taking your eyes off the road for 5 seconds at a speed of 55mph is the same as traveling the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
  • A study found that more than 31% of drivers within the ages 18 to 64 years admitted that they had sent or read a text message or email while driving a vehicle in the past 30 days.
  • According to a survey conducted in 2015, three-quarter of drivers said that they have other people using cell phones while driving, while one-third of them admitted that they have also used their smartphones while driving.

Things To Do To Avoid Becoming A Stat

It is important that you play your part and do everything you can to avoid getting into an accident. It is equally important to play your part in raising awareness about the dangers of texting while driving. You should speak up when you see someone driving while distracted. Parents should also lead by example and encourage teens to avoid using cell phones while driving. It is also a good idea to use certain apps that block texting while you drive.

How To Prevent Distracted Driving

Technology can help people ward off the dangers of distracted driving posed by technology itself. Here are some of the most suitable apps which can help parents keeps their kids from indulging in distracted driving. These apps can be helpful only if the users are serious about controlling  their habit of texting while driving.

Cellcontrol

Basically designed for parents, it is a subscription-based service and features a device installed under the dashboard along with an app that keeps your teen from receiving or sending texts while driving. When the car is in motion, the app disables other phone features as well.

Drive Safe Mod

The app prevents emailing and texting while driving and notifies a parent or guardian whenever someone uses the phone by deactivating the app.

LifeSaver 

My personal favorite, LifeSaver app is a GPS based app that encourages the drivers to break away from fatal distracted driving habits. It blocks the calls, texts while you are driving and automatically inform people who tried calling you during your travel, once you reach your destination safely. This app can be used by the parents as well as business establishments to keep a check on the driving behavior through Driver Portal Dashboard. You can also introduce a reward system for the ones who display a responsible driving behavior to encourage them be responsible while on the wheel.

Live2Txt

You can block all incoming calls and texts while driving with the help of this app. Simply turn it on when you get ready to drive. The app will automatically send a reply to the caller that you are currently not available.

SafeDrive

The app offers some rewards when you text while driving. Activate it when you get ready to drive and it will start giving you points that you can use to enjoy discounts at participating stores.

Texting While Driving Traffic Laws By State

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