Although any distraction while driving can be problematic, one of the worst possible things a driver can do is text and drive. The statistics make this crystal clear: the average time a driver takes their eyes off of the road to send a text is 5 seconds. That’s enough time for a vehicle to travel the full length of a football field without knowing what is happening. Something as simple as a text that says “I love you” can become the cause of a fatal accident.
Facts About Texting While Driving
1. 23%. That’s the minimum percentage of automotive accidents that were caused in 2011 because of the involvement of a cellphone.
2. At any given time throughout the day, approximately 660,000 drivers are attempting to use their phones while behind the wheel of an automobile.
3. Each day in the United States, more than 9 people are killed and more than 1,153 people are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.
4. The total number of crashes that are related to a cell phone every year: 1.3 million. Up to 80% of all crashes involve some form of driver distraction.
5. A crash typically happens within an average of 3 seconds after a driver is distracted.
6. 25% of these cell phone related crashes are directly related to texting and driving.
7. Text messaging makes a crash 23x more likely to happen. It’s 11.5x more dangerous to text while driving than to dial a phone number.
8. During any point of the day, 11% of drivers are talking on their cell phones.
9. It is 6x safer to drive while drunk than it is to drive while distracted by the task of texting.
10. 13% of drivers in the 18-20 age demographic admit that there were either texting or talking on a mobile device at the time they had an accident.
11. The percentage of 16-17 year olds who own a mobile phone and say that they have texted while driving: 34%.
12. 77% of teens say that they are at least somewhat confident that they can text on a phone while they are driving.
13. The percentage of teen drivers who say that it is easy to drive and send a text out at the same time: 55%.
14. Teen drivers who will text while driving will spend a total of 10% of their driving time not positioned properly in their assigned lane.
15. 15% of teens say that they text while driving because they see their parents doing the same thing and nothing bad happens.
16. The percentage of adults who admit to sending or receiving text messages while they are driving: 27%.
17. Almost half of all kids between the ages of 12-17 have been in a vehicle at least once where the driver was texting.
18. 20% of all drivers admit to surfing on the internet while they are driving.
19. 11. That’s the number of teens that will die every day because of the driver of their vehicle [themselves or someone else] was texting at the time of the accident.
20. The number of states that do not prohibit texting while driving at all: 7.
21. Texting while driving causes a 400% increase in time spent with eyes off the road.
22. The percentage of drivers who support a full ban on texting while driving: 94%.
23. 94% of teen drivers acknowledge the dangers of texting and driving.
24. Teen drivers are 4x more likely than adults to get into car crashes or near-crashes when talking or texting on a cell phone.
25. The reaction time of a teen driver using a cell phone is the same as that of a 70-year-old driver who is not using a cell phone.
26. According to 77% of teens, adults tell them not to text or email while driving, yet adults do it themselves “all the time.”
27. 9 in 10 teens expect a reply to a text or email within five minutes or less, which puts pressure on them to respond while driving.
28. With two or more passengers, they are 5x as likely to get into an accident compared to if they are on their own. Add that multiplier to the other texting multipliers and it can be up to 50x more likely for a teen who is texting to be in an accident compared to a teen who is driving alone and not texting.
29. 1 in 4 teen drivers say that they respond to at least 1 text message every time they get behind the wheel.
30. 10% of parents report having multi-text message conversations while driving.
31. 14% of drivers have routinely said that they read text messages or emails while driving.
32. Pedestrians who text are 4x less likely to look before crossing the street, cross in crosswalks, or obey traffic signals.
33. In December 2012, more than 171 billion text messages were sent or received in the US.
34. In Europe, the texting while driving percentage ranges from 15% in Spain to 31% in Portugal. The highest rates in Europe traditionally match the annual US rates for texting and driving.
35. Students who text while driving are nearly twice as likely to ride with a driver who has been drinking and five times as likely to drink and drive than students who don’t text while driving.
36. Students who frequently text while driving are more likely to ride with a drinking driver or drink and drive than students who text while driving less frequently.
37. Teens readily admit that texting while driving is their #1 distraction.
38. Of those killed in distracted-driving-related crashed, 995 involved reports of a cell phone as a distraction.
39. 6% of drivers on US roadways at any given time are using a cell phone for some purpose.
40. Texting while driving is the #1 cause of teen deaths in all categories, with 300 more deaths due to texting than from driving drunk.
41. More than 90% of teens admit to posting on social media sites while behind the wheel.
42. 3 in 4 teens say that they will watch a video while driving at some point in time.
43. 65% of near accidents that occur involve some form of distracted driving, including texting.
44. 3 in 4 American drivers admit that they drive distracted on a regular basis.
45. 44% of adults say that they have at least once used their cell phone in such a way that it put themselves and their passengers in danger while they were driving.
46. 17% of adults report “bumping into something” while driving when using a cell phone.
It isn’t just texting from phone to phone that is problematic with the modern smartphone. People can update their Facebook status or send tweets while driving. They may manually change their GPS navigation. The number of distractions that the modern phone can provide through a simple keyboard input are too numerous to count.
That’s why in 2015, Washington State’s legislature is considering a full “no touch” driving rule for phones. It would be more than just hands-free. Only voice commands with not ear accessories would be allowed. One look at these statistics and the distracting driving that texting causes should send a shudder down your spine.
Why Are So Many Drivers Texting and Driving?
Teens have always had a sense of invincibility around them. This is both a strength and weakness. It’s a strength because it allows them to do some incredible things that many would never think to be possible. It’s a weakness because it makes teens careless. Just one incident of texting while driving for a teen without an accident can give them the confidence to do it all the time, no matter what, and nothing bad will happen.
This is why at most, 1 in 4 teens will always text and drive because they don’t see anything wrong with the practice. To solve this problem, parents must first step up and change their own negative habits. 1 in 10 parents is teaching their child that it is normal to text and drive. Having common sense laws in place that will stop texting and driving can also be of benefit. It can be difficult for a law enforcement official to determine if a phone is being used illegally when just texting is involved. Having a no-touch law would make enforcement a lot easier.
The implementation of collision avoidance systems could help solve part of this problem. Distracted driving occurs for a wide variety of reasons. By having an automated system in place that can stop a vehicle before an accident occurs, a lot of lives could be saved.
Knowing the texting and driving statistics and then sharing them will also help. Education is our best defense. It won’t stop everyone from texting and driving, but it will certainly stop quite a few and that’s as good a place to start as any.