How Often Do You Text and Drive: The Real Dangers of Texting While Driving
The popularity of mobile devices has had some unintended and even dangerous consequences. We now know that mobile communications are linked to a significant increase in distracted driving, resulting in injury and loss of life. Distracted driving is anything that reduces your attention away from your main task of driving. Texting and using your phone, even taking a quick look at your phone could lead to harmful and possibly life threatening consequences. Text messaging and phone usage requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver; it is by far the most hazardous distraction.
In Connecticut, it is against the law to use a hand-held device and fines range from $125 up to $400. If a 16 or 17-year-old driver is caught using a hand-held device they face 30 day to 6-month license suspensions, fines and court fees. Texting while driving is never worth the potential consequences and risks to you or anyone else on the road.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have published some scary statistics:
- In 2010, 3093 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver and an estimated additional 416,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.
- Drivers who use hand-held devices are 4 times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.
- Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted.
- Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind.
- Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%.
What you can do to help lower these statistics:
Give Clear Instructions. Give teen drivers simple, clear instructions not to use their wireless devices while driving. According to Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, the easiest way to say it is: “On the road, off the phone.” Before new drivers get their licenses, discuss the fact that taking their eyes off the road – even for a few seconds – could cost someone injury or even death.
Lead by Example. Children learn from their parent’s behavior. No one should text and drive. Be an example for your children and if you need to text or talk on the phone, pull over to a safe place. After a few times, you will develop safer driving habits.
Become Informed and Be Active. Research information about safe driving tips. Set rules for yourself and your family regarding distracted driving. Tell family, friends and organizations to which you belong about the importance of driving without distractions. Take information to your children’s’ schools and ask that it be shared with students and parents.