By now it has become obvious that texting and driving a car do not mix. Everyone knows it isn’t safe to text while behind the wheel, but people still do it all the time. And, so the accidents, injuries, and deaths due to texting and driving continue unabated. In fact, the texting and driving statistics are staggering. If more drivers paid attention to these numbers, perhaps they would think twice about sending and receiving text messages while operating a motor vehicle.
How Many People Die A Year From Texting and Driving?
Let’s start with the most disturbing statistic – the number of people who die each year in auto accidents due to texting and driving. According to DMV.org, distracted driving – of which texting and other cell phone use is a leading cause – was responsible for the following statistics in 2015:
- 3,196 fatal car accidents
- 3,477 deaths
- 3,000 teens dying in crashes due to texting and driving
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), 14% of fatal distracted driving crashes involved a cell phone that was in use at the time of the wreck. Furthermore, texting while driving is now the leading cause of death among teenagers – with the number of deaths surpassing those resulting from drinking and driving. By themselves, the texting and driving statistics involving fatalities should be enough to making anyone stop engaging in this dangerous activity, but there’s more.
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Accidents Caused by Texting and Driving
According to the National Safety Council, using cell phones while driving causes 1.6 million auto accidents every year. These accidents result in more than 330,000 injuries of varying severity. Perhaps most surprising is the fact that texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than driving under the influence of alcohol.Injuries aren’t as distressing as the loss of life from a distracted driving accident. But, they still come at a terrible cost. All injuries cause a certain amount of pain and suffering. Many are permanently disabling. Then there are the financial costs from hospital stays, doctor bills, medications, and physical therapy to recover from the injuries. NHTSA estimates that distracted driving costs the U.S. more than $175 billion a year – all because drivers weren’t giving their full attention to the road.
Teen Driver and Texting and Driving Statistics
The American Auto Association reports that more than 9 out of 10 teenage drivers know about the dangers of texting and driving. Yet, more than one-third admit to doing it on a regular basis. As a result:
- 11 teens die every day in the U.S. from texting while driving.
- 21% of teen drivers involved in fatal accidents were distracted by their cell phones.
- Teen drivers are four times more likely than adults to be involved in car crashes when talking or texting on a cell phone.
- Having even just one passenger in the car doubles the risk of teen drivers being involved in a fatal car accident.
If you’re a parent with a teenage driver, lay down the law: even one incident of texting while driving will result in the loss of driving privileges.
Why Texting and Driving is So Dangerous
There are many different ways to use a cell phone while driving. None are as dangerous as texting behind the wheel. Here’s why:
Texting involves at least three separate physical/mental actions, all of which take the driver’s attention away from the road:
- Instead of focusing on the road ahead, your eyes are looking for a message, lights or other signals inside the car.
- Texting requires taking your hand (or hands) off the wheel while the vehicle is in motion.
- Your mind is focusing on operating your cell phone devices and understanding the messages rather than driving the car.
Answering a text takes your attention off the road for about five seconds. At a speed of 55 mph, that’s long enough to travel 300 feet– the entire length of a football field.
Texting while driving increases the time your eyes are off the road by 400%, making a crash 23 times more likely to occur.
At any given time, more than 600,000 drivers in the U.S are using their cell phones while driving. So, it’s not hard to see why there are so many accidents and fatalities every year.
How To Stop the Madness of Texting and Driving
These texting and driving statistics paint a sobering picture of the dangers – and potential consequences – of texting while driving. One in four car accidents in the U.S. is caused by texting behind the wheel. Texting while driving is six times more likely than drunk driving to cause an accident. The list of compelling reasons not to text and drive goes on and on, yet hundreds of thousands of drivers do it every day.
These accidents, and the fatalities that result from them, could be easily avoided by practicing a few techniques. These include:
- Turn off your cell phone notifications. If you can’t hear your phone, you won’t be tempted to respond while driving.
- Put your phone where you can’t reach it. Put it in the glove compartment, your purse or the backseat. Give it to a passenger to hold for you until you reach your destination.
- Have a “designated texter.” If you insist on texting while in the car, let a passenger do it for you. If the messages are too personal, wait until you get where you’re going to read and respond to them.
- Monitor your teenager’s driving behavior. Place a camera in the car. Install an anti-texting and driving mobile app on your teen’s phone. If they disable it or refuse to use it, take their cell phone away.
These are common-sense practices that could eliminate one-fourth of all auto accidents and save thousands of lives every year simply by changing a few behaviors. That’s a texting and driving statistic that everyone should know about!
Most of all, don’t fool yourself into thinking “it won’t happen to me.” Anyone who texts while driving is at risk for an auto collision. As the texting and driving statistics show, these risks are higher than any other type of driving.
At Fix Auto, we urge you to be more thoughtful before you get behind the wheel. Put your cell phone away and leave it there until you reach your destination. There’s no text message so important that it’s worth risking your life and the lives of others on the road. Please drive safely and text-free!