Distracted driving is a situation where a driver engages in other activities such as talking and texting on the phone or drinking. Distracted driving includes any other activity which diverts his/her attention when on the road.
One of the significant causes of road accidents aside from drunk drinking before driving is texting and driving. This practice has become a norm in society, despite different laws set up to stop this behavior.
According to the NHTSA, distracted driving claimed at least 3,166 lives in 2017, and caused more than a million accidents of which were minor and others were life-threatening. According to research, texting while driving is known to shift drivers’ attention more than any other form of distracted driving. The possibility of having an accident when you engage in distracted driving is more than 90% compared to when you drive with your full focus.
In this article, we’ll focus on the dangers of texting while driving, as well as the governing laws.
Laws Against Texting and Driving
Each state and legislature in the United States have different laws governing distracted driving. While it’s a great idea to check with your state, we have provided an overview of the rules guiding this activity in almost all states in America.
Laws Against Handheld Cell-Phones
Over 19 states in America prohibits the use of handheld devices while driving. An officer may book an individual for using handheld devices while driving. (Source: GHSA)
General Use of Cell Phones
While there is no ban on the use of cell phones when driving, a total of 39 states ban the use of cell phones by novice drivers. This law includes teen drivers and young adults, plus individuals who got their licenses in no more than three months back. (Source: GHSA)
Text messaging is known as the most dangerous form of distracted driving, and it is one of the significant causes of road accidents. More than 48 states in the United States have placed enforcement on text messaging while driving. Of the remaining states, one is known to have placed a ban on text messaging by novice drivers. (Source: GHSA)
California has similar texting and driving laws to that of other states in America. However, this jurisdiction places a ban on all types of distracted driving. School bus drivers are not allowed to make use of handheld devices while driving. Also, novice drivers are not allowed to make use of cell phones while driving. In 2019, the state passed a law that added a point to the driver’s driving record if they are caught using their cell phone driving more than once in 36 months. Noncommercial drivers would be allowed to go to traffic school to get the point removed.
Texting and Driving Statistics
What are the Dangers of Texting and Driving?
1. 25% of Car Accidents are Caused by Texting and Driving
According to the NHTSA, 1 of every four car accidents is caused by distracted driving. Texting and driving results in a total of 390,000 injuries every year. (Source: Edgar Synder)
2. It causes more accidents than Driving while Drunk
Texting while driving has a 600% more chance of causing an accident than driving drunk. Additionally, it causes more accidents than any other phone-related activity. (Source: Edgar Synder)
3. Texting while driving reduces attention
It reduces attention for at least 5 seconds and causes a 400% increase in the amount of time taken off the road. (Source: Edgar Synder)
4. More than 1.6 million crashes yearly are as a result of texting and driving.
Texting and Driving Awareness Statistics
1. 94% of drivers support a ban
More than 94% of drivers support a ban on text messaging while driving, and over 74% support a ban on the general use of handheld devices. (Source: NHTSA)
2. Almost all drivers acknowledge the dangers
Both adult and teen drivers recognize the risks, but most still do it anyways. Over 34% of teens admitted to using their phones while driving. (Source: NHTSA)
Texting and Driving Has a Higher Effect on Teens
1. Teens have a higher chance of engaging in texting while driving
Research shows that more than 21% of injuries from road accidents by teens were caused by texting. (Source: NSC)
2. A greater number of teens with passengers have a higher tendency of causing accidents
Research shows that a teen with a single passenger has a lower risk of getting crashes due to texting and driving than one with up to five passengers. (Source: NSC)
3. Teens are aware of the Dangers of Texting and Driving
Most teens involved in accidents were educated on the risk of this driving habit. Research shows that more than 94% of teens are well informed about the dangers of texting and driving. (Source: NSC)
2017-2019 US Texting While Driving Statistics
1. More than 3,166 deaths in the United States are a result of Texting and Driving.
Data from the NHTSA shows that more than three thousand deaths in 2017 were as a result of Texting and Driving. This number increased to a total of 9 deaths per day in 2018.
2. Distracted Driving is transferable
More than 52% of minors have claimed that their parents engage in distracted driving, and thus, they see it as something they can do. (Source: PEW)
3. Not all States have Laws
While Big states such as D.C, California, and New York have strict laws against Texting and Driving, some states do not have a single law against this act. Montana and Missouri are known to be the two major regions where it is legal. Arizona became the 48th state when it implemented a new law in April 2019.
1. Lead by example
Be a more responsible driver by refraining from sending or responding to text messages on your cellphone while driving or when you have stopped at the red light in traffic. Texting while driving puts you and others in harm’s way and is against the law.
Turn off your cellphone and put it in your pocket or bag. If you must use your phone, do so when the car is parked.
2. Always keep your eyes on the road when driving
You should try to focus entirely on the road. Avoid all forms of distractions while driving to reduce the tendency of getting into accidents.
3. If you’re a passenger to someone texting while driving, call them out.
You can easily ask a driver indulging in this activity to stop. You also have the right to report any individual engaging in this act to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.
4. Share articles like this to promote safety in your locale.
You should try to inform as many people as possible to reduce the occurrence of such incidence.
5. Download Apps
Certain apps will mute incoming text notifications and alerts you when you’re driving at above 15 mph. Some apps also alert the sender of the text that the recipient is behind the wheels. They even inform parents if their teen driver disables the application.