Texting While Driving Crash Risks
The average teenager, in the U.S.A., sends nearly 3,000 text messages each month. In 2007, AAA and Seventeen magazine conducted a study, which found that 61% of teens admit to dangerous driving habits. Of that group, 46% admitted to texting while driving. A second study, done by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, found that a truck driver who texted was 23 times more likely to cause a “crash or near crash event” than a driver who was not distracted. While these numbers are focused on car drivers, the risk remains prominent for car drivers. CNET’s Jennifer Geuvin reported that the study found that texting distracted a driver for an average of 4.6 seconds, with each text; enough time to travel the length of a football field, at 55 mph. In addition to the increased crashing risks, Clemson University conducted a study which found that “text messaging and using iPods caused drivers to leave their lanes 10 percent more often.” Further studies reveal similar facts, about texting and driving: Carnegie Mellon found that using a cell phone, for anything, reduces brain activity associated with driving by 37%.
Texting While Driving Accidents
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2008, nearly 6,000 people died in a crash involving a distracted driver. In addition, nearly 500,000 people were injured in those crashes. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that drivers who use hand held devices are four times as likely to be involved with crashes serious enough to injure themselves, and that young drivers, under 20 years old, have the higher rates of distraction related fatal crashes. The University of Utah reported that using a cell phone while driving delays a person’s reactions by as much as if they had a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08%, the legal limit.
The Montana Office of Public Instruction advises drivers that the risk of a collision increases by as much as 400% while talking on a cell phone when driving. In addition to that, 4 out of every 5 collisions involve some form of driver distraction. In their study of 100 drivers, cell phones had the highest frequency of causing distraction related crashes. A second study, using driving simulators, showed that cell phone users reacted 9% slower than undistracted drivers. Young drivers, using cell phones, had reaction times as slow as an elderly driver. In all of the distracted drivers tested, crash rates increased by 500%.
The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute released a study of their own on texting and driving. In their study, it was shown that a driver who is texting spends 4.6 seconds, out of every 6 seconds, distracted from the road, making texting the most risky of cell phone uses. They have also shown that a teen driver is as much as four times more likely as an adult to be distracted, by texting while driving.
Talking on a cell phone has also been shown to increase the chances of crashing by as much as 1.3 times the risk for a driver who is focused. Even though dialing a phone takes a little amount of time, the risk for crashing, while dialing a phone, is the same as while texting. Needless to say, texting and driving is one of the most risk filled things a person can do.