What You Need to Know About Texting While Driving

In my post on Driving Tips for Teens (Part 1), I have share about the need to focus. At all times, the designated drivers must focus and plan his travel well. Nowadays, the dangers of driving get higher and higher each day because of the many distractions. Aside from drunk driving, people are constantly bombarded with distractions. For instance, many drivers are guilty of using their phone while driving.

gray Volkswagen vehicle steering wheel

According to the National Safety Council, there are an estimate of 1.6 million car accidents each year because of phone use. So, can we say that texting drivers are more at risk than drunk drivers? Let’s all find out!

The Data on Texting While Driving

Texting while driving affects everyone, but the numbers are high especially for teenagers. Here are the statistics:

  • In 2015 alone, the the National Safety Council stated that 27% of car accidents are due to mobile phone use. Moreover, distracted driving are not accurately reported, or reported as less than the real numbers.
  • As per the NHTSA, 481,000 drivers admitted that they are using their phones while on the road.
  • Meanwhile, according to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the leading causes of car crashes among teen drivers are interacting with the others, using of mobile phones, and looking for items in the car.
  • On a AAA poll, 94% of teens admitted that they know about the risks of texting and driving, but 35% of them still do it nevertheless.
  • The Virginia Technical Transportation Institute, and USDOT reported that texting heightens the chances of a car crash.
  • Lastly, the NHTSA calculated that the sending (or reading) text message will distract you for about five second. In this given time, you can travel across a football field at 55 mph.

Texting while driving vs drunk driving

One would think that texting while driving is NOT as dangerious as drunk driving. However, the truth is that texting is as hazardous as drinking. If you read this University of Utah study, the researchers found out that the texting drivers are slower. Hence, they are 9% slower in hitting the brakes, and 19% slower to go back to normal speed after applying the brakes.

Other studies assert that texting is more dangerous than drinking.  In texting,  the driver is distracted on many different levels: 1. physically (because you need to hold the phone and tap the screen), 2. visually (because you need to glance or look over your phone), and 3. cognitively (because you need to think of what to text).

Some argue, the NSC in particular, stated that the distracted driving cases could be extremely underreported. The numbers may possibly be higher than the reported cases.

Here’s what you can do!

Learn to protect yourself by following these safety tips:

  1. Plan your trips ahead of time. If you constantly rely on your GPS for distraction, this could put you at risk.
  2. If you need to answer an important message, let your fellow passengers help. When no one is there to help you, pull over and stop the car while you respond to the messages.
  3. Finally, I will remind you to avoid drinking and taking medications with side effects. If you can, turn off your phone or put it on silent mode.