Driving a vehicle while text messaging is six times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The agency reports that sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent — when traveling at 55 mph — of driving the length of an entire football field while blindfolded.
Texting in cars and trucks causes over 3,000 deaths and 330,000 injuries per year, according to a Harvard Center for Risk Analysis study.
Texting while driving a vehicle has now replaced drinking while driving as the leading cause of accidents and deaths of teenage drivers. Texting in traffic isn’t simply a problem among teens – 47% of adults admit that they text while driving. Texting drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash than non-texting drivers.
The proportion of alcohol-related traffic crash deaths has dropped 52% since 1982, and are now at historic lows, but the proportion of traffic accident fatalities that are NOT alcohol-related has jumped 78% during the same period. We’re winning the war against alcohol-related traffic deaths. But texting-related traffic fatalities are epidemic – helping spread awareness of it is key.
Fortunately, there’s some good news. A survey conducted by NHTSA found that 90% of drivers support laws to ban texting while driving. A recent survey found that 80% of drivers support some type of cell phone usage restrictions. The majority of respondents say they are supportive of laws restricting any type of cell phone use while driving; 80% support a ban on text messaging while driving; 80% support a ban on e-mailing while driving; and almost 75% believe that restrictions should apply to all drivers, not just specific groups such as teens.