Texting While Driving Revisited

April 20, 2011  |  Adriel B. Villarreal

A couple of months ago I posted some information regarding the dangers of “texting while driving.” Since then this topic seems to have been in the news on a daily basis. Anyone watching the Minneapolis nightly news during the last couple of days was again reminded that texting while driving can lead to devastating consequences.
In October 2010, a twenty year old mother with two kids in her car is alleged to have struck a motorcyclist in Eden Prairie, MN while texting/talking on her phone. Luckily the motorcyclist was not killed but sustained life changing injuries requiring multiple surgeries. This week she was charged with multiple counts including criminal vehicular operation with injury. This felony charge in and of itself warrants a prison sentence.
The tragic consequences are endless for all parties involved. While I make no claim to be an expert in this matter, I believe a good practice is to inform, inform and inform. Simply put, all drivers (young and old) need to know the real consequences that texting while driving creates.
The following is an article prepared by Abhijit Naik detailing some meaningful statistics, regarding the topic, published by the Virginia Tech Driving Institute and the NHTSA.
Dangers of Texting While Driving: Statistics
A study by Virginia Tech Driving Institute revealed that those who resort to texting while driving are 23 time more likely to meet with an accident. A comparative study of texting while driving vs drunk driving statistics published in a leading car magazine in the United States revealed that texting while driving is even more dangerous than drunk driving. Studies reveal that a person who is texting while driving at the speed of 35 mph will cover 25 ft before bringing the car to complete halt as compared to a distance of 4 ft which a drunk driver would cover at the same speed.
According to the texting while driving death statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 5,870 people died in car crashes in 2008 alone. The same statistics revealed that 515,000 people were injured in various car crashes in the United States. Around 28 percent of all crashes in 2008 were caused by drivers in the age group of 18 and 29, who admitted to texting while driving. The popular belief, that the number of teenagers texting while driving is more as compared to adults, got a major blow when the texting while driving statistics 2010 compiled by Pew Research Center revealed that 47 percent of the adults resort to texting as compared to 34 percent of the teenagers. The same stats revealed that 75 percent of the adults resort to phone conversation while driving as compared to 52 percent of the teenagers.
The compilation of texting while driving statistics gives you an idea as to why texting is considered to be the most serious among the various distractions while driving. Several states have some ordinances which outlaw the practice of texting while driving within their jurisdiction. One of the best examples is the state of Georgia, wherein texting while on the driving wheel can earn you a fine of around $150 and/or result in a point on the driver’s license. Constituting and implementing such rules and regulations can help in bringing down the number of texting related accidents by a significant extent. At the same time, the onus is on the parents to make sure that their wards make wise use of the vehicle and gadget given to them.