Last year, Utah passed a law cracking down on texting and driving, and it’s no wonder. Most crashes occur within a short five second window after a driver is distracted — about the length of a football field if you are driving 55 mph — and you take your eyes off the road for about five seconds when you look down at your phone to read a text. The law prohibits using a phone in any manner while driving — including texting, surfing the web, dialing a number and reading emails, but many people do it anyway. 52% of Americans have admitted to talking on the phone while driving, and 43% of teens have admitted to texting while driving despite knowing the dangers. 19% of all drivers also admit to surfing the web while driving.
According to the US Department of Transportation, cell phones are involved in 1.6 million crashes every year and account for 330,000 injuries and 6,000 deaths. Those who text and drive (be it reading or writing a message) are 23% more likely to be involved in a car accident than other drivers, and six times more likely than someone who is driving under the influence. Drivers who text behind the wheel spend 10% of their time driving outside of their lane. 11 teens die every day due to texting while driving. Tell that to the 77% of young adults who think that they can drive safely while texting.
It seems pretty obvious as to why 43 states and D.C. have outlawed texting while driving.
How to Stay Safe
- Commit now to not read or send texts while you are driving, even when you are stopped at a stoplight.
- Turn your cell phone off or put it in a place that you cannot reach while driving.
- Install an app such as Cellcontrol or Drive Safe Mode that disabled texting while driving.
- If you are in the middle of a conversation with a friend, let them know that you will be driving and will be unable to answer for a few minutes. And if you know that a friend is driving, don’t text them back.
- If your friend is driving while texting, and you are in the car, ask them to stop, or offer to respond for them.
- Share these statistics with your friends and family members, and encourage them to be safe when they are behind the wheel.