In 4.6 seconds- the average time texting drivers take their eyes off the road, the driver, passengers, and people in other vehicles could be dead. Each year over 5,000 people lose their lives to distracted driving accidents. Many of those accidents involve drivers using cell phones to talk, text, or post on social media. Even though the danger is evident, polls indicate that over half of all drivers talk on their handheld cellphone while driving, and almost 40 percent text.
Texting and Driving – A Look at the Numbers
In one study in 2009, researchers found that drivers took their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds to text. When driving 55 mph, texting drivers travel the length of an entire football field without looking at the road. Even talking on the phone while driving is more dangerous because it takes mental concentration not required when talking to a passenger.
To combat this, ten states and Washington, D.C., have banned handheld phone use by drivers. Other states have cellphone use restrictions placed on the most vulnerable drivers, like young drivers or bus drivers. Yet accidents continue to happen as people ignore these regulations and continue to drive distracted. More communities are looking at adding laws or increasing education to fight this growing problem.
Phones Are Not the Only Distractions
Sadly, phones are just one of many distractions drivers face while behind the wheel. Automakers are constantly adding new technology to vehicles. Cars and trucks are equipped with complex entertainment systems and even Web browsers on the onboard dash. Fiddling with the components of a modern vehicle can be just as distracting as texting while driving, taking a driver’s eyes off the road and increasing the risk of a deadly crash.
Distracted Driving Crashes Have Potential to Be Deadly
While any car crash can be deadly, lawyers in Las Vegas find that those involving distracted drivers tend to be the most dangerous. In fact, around a quarter of all crash-related fatalities happen because of distracted driving. For teen drivers, statistics are even higher, with over half of all driver distraction accidents occurring with teenage drivers. This deadly epidemic has left many victims in its wake, pointing to the need for ongoing education about the dangers of distracted driving.