Courtesy of Cy-Fair Hospital
Did you know that texting while driving may be as dangerous as driving while intoxicated?
To many, using the cell phone to text family, friends and colleagues has become a common form of communication. However, when you use your cell phone, you may actually be putting you in danger as it distracts you from a task that should require your full attention.
Distracted driving is a serious issue in America, and texting on your cell phone is a leading cause of this problem. In 2009, 995 fatal car accidents were directly related to the usage of a cell phone at the time of the incident. A study performed by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that texting while driving could make the risk of crashing 23.2 times higher than that of a non-distracted driver.
To understand just how dangerous driving while texting could be, Car and Driver magazine conducted an informal study that tested reaction times of a driver in the process of texting with a driver who was legally intoxicated. The study found reaction times of driver while texting to range from as slow as to much slower than that of driver with a blood alcohol content of .08, which is the legal limit of intoxication for driving.
With 33 states currently placing a strict ban on texting while driving, as well as a national ban baring any commercial truck or bus drivers from texting while driving, lawmakers in America are attempting to cut down on the preventable threat that affects not only the driver themselves but other vehicles and pedestrians.
Of all drivers, those below the age of 20 had the highest percentage of fatal crashes due to distracted driving than any other age group. Because the statistic is so concerning, many states have enacted unique laws for novice drivers restricting them from any use of a cell phone or portable electronic device while driving.
However, even with such laws in place, the use of these devices while driving is still very prevalent. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a national phone survey in 2009 that found that, at any given time, an estimated 9 percent of drivers were using either a hand-held or hands-free phone. Part of the NHTSA survey also included an observational phase that found nearly 1 percent of drivers visibly manipulate their phones while driving. Breaking this number down further, the percentage of drivers aged 16-24 visibly manipulating a cell phone was at a much higher at a rate of 1.1 percent.
As the problem becomes more widely recognized, be sure your teenagers know of the dangers of texting and driving. Set house rules about the use of cell phones while driving. Also, most importantly, make sure you are setting a good example for your children by not texting while driving.