The Scary Truth about Texting and Driving in America

August 31, 2015

Approximately 500,000 young Americans are injured as a result of distracted driving. The average text takes a person's eyes off the road for several seconds, which is enough time to swerve off the road or hit a car that is braking quickly. When a person is traveling at 55 miles per hour, that is enough time to drive across the length of a football field. Anyone who notices a friend texting while driving should tell that person to put the phone down or stop the vehicle immediately.

According to statistics, about 50 percent of drivers under the age of 35 who carry cellphones are guilty of reading or sending text messages while they are driving. More than 35 percent of teens report nearly being in an accident because of another distracted driver or because of themselves when they are distracted. Drivers who text while the vehicle is in motion are at least 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident than drivers who do not text while driving. It is interesting that nearly 60 percent of drivers still claim to be better than the average driver despite the same percentage admitting to regularly texting while driving.

The number one reason American teens die is because of distracted driving. Although most people are proud of their multitasking abilities, it is important to avoid multitasking behind the wheel. Over 20 percent of teens who text and drive do so because they are bored. When getting behind the wheel, it is best to turn a phone on silent or shut it off. If the phone is too much of a temptation to pick up and use while driving, shut it off instead of putting it on silent. If this is also too difficult, there are apps and devices designed to disable phone features while a vehicle is in motion. Friends who text while driving should not be trusted. Ask the person to stop, and provide a reminder about how unsafe and careless it is to text and drive. It endangers the driver, passengers, pedestrians and other motorists.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration collects statistics each year about the use of cellphones while driving and the related accidents or deaths. NHTSA started a campaign to combat this dangerous practice. Since Americans understand the dangers of multitasking while driving but still do it, the campaign is designed to show them how they are actually closer to driving blind than driving distracted. They also seek to look past the dangers and focus on why people feel compelled to remain in constant contact with friends, family members and social media while driving. With a strong plan for success and innovation in conveying a very important message, NHTSA hopes to see positive results in the future statistics they collect. To learn more about staying safe while driving and how to report distracted drivers, discuss concerns with an agent.

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