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Texting While Driving: Worse Than Being Under The Influence

September 30, 2015

How do cell phones cause accidents?

They’re distractions! It only takes 5 seconds at 55 miles per hour to cover a football field and too much can happen in that small amount of time. Each day in the U.S. an average of 9 people are killed and 1,153 are injured due to a distracted driver.

Distractions fall into three categories: visual – eyes off the road, manual – hands off the wheel, and cognitive – mind off driving. Many activities can distract a driver, but with the advent of cell phones the number of associated accidents has gone through the roof.

Here are some of the cell phone activities that distract a driver and the additional likelihood of an accident:

  1. Talking – 1.3 times more likely to have an accident
  2. Reaching for the device – 1.4 times more likely
  3. Dialing – 2.8 times more likely
  4. Texting – 23 times more likely


How does cell use affect drivers?

A study by the University of Utah claims reaction time of a teen on a phone call is equivalent to that of a 70 year old driver without a phone.

A Virginia Tech Transportation Institute reports texting while driving is 6 times more likely to result in a crash than driving under the influence.

What are the odds of being on the road with a cell phone user?

According to the US Department of Transportation: 1.6 million accidents a year are cell phone related, causing ½ million injuries and costing 6,000 lives.

82 % of Americans age 16-17 own cell phones.

52 % of teens say they talk on phone while driving.

34 % of teens admit to texting while driving.

77% of young adults are “confident” they are safe texting while driving.

55 % claim it’s “easy” to text and drive.

Despite these claims, teens who text while driving spend 10 % of the time on the road drifting out of their lane.

It’s not just teen drivers!

Don’t think it’s just teens with a problem. Adults do it, too! 69% of US drivers surveyed aged 18-64 had talked on the phone while driving in the previous 30 days.

Don’t think it won’t happen to you. A family member of one of our staff was hit by a texting driver just this month. Luckily, she’s doing fine – but at 65 mph, it could have turned out very differently.

Hang up and drive!

As always, thanks for reading.

—E. A. Cooke


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