Is texting while driving any different than drinking and driving? One might argue that because there is no alcohol involved, “it’s okay.” But is it? Here are some SOBERING FACTS about texting and driving:
- Believed to contribute to 1.6 million crashes/year. (National Safety Council)
- Linked to an estimated 330,000 injuries per year. (Harvard Center for Risk Analysis Study)
- Associated with eleven teen deaths EVERY DAY. (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Fatality Facts)
- Texting contributes to nearly 25% of ALL car accidents.
- Texting while driving carries the same risk as driving after drinking four beers. (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration)
- It’s the number one driving distraction (as reported by teen drivers).
- The MINIMUM amount of attention time taken away from the road (like being blindfolded) is five seconds, which is EQUAL to traveling 100 yards, or the length of a football field, when traveling 55 mph.
- The likelihood of increased risk by cell phone use: 1.4 times more when reaching for the phone, 1.3 times greater than talking or listening, 2.8 times more when dialing, but 23 times more when texting!
- Of drivers involved in crashes between age 18-20, 13% admitted to texting or talking on their cell.
- When surveyed, 34% admit to texting & driving; 82% of 16-17 year old teens own cell phones; 52% say they have talked on their phone when driving; 77% are “very” or “somewhat confident” that they can safely text while driving; 55% of young adults claim it’s easy to text and drive!
- When teens text & drive, approximately 10% of driving time is spent OUTSIDE of their lane.
- In ADULTS: 48% of kids age 12-17 say they’ve been in a car while the driver was texting, have seen a parent talk and drive, 15% have seen their parent text and drive, and 27% of adults have sent or received text messages while driving.
- One in five drivers (all ages) confess to ‘surfing the web’ while driving and justify it with: “…reading a text is safer than composing and sending one;” holding the phone near the windshield makes it safe, “…I increase my distance from the car ahead,” “…I only text at a stop sign or red light.”
- Laws (as of 2016): Ten states and Washington D.C. prohibit ALL drivers from using handheld cell phones; 32 states and Washington D.C. prohibit novice drivers from using cell phones; 39 states and Washington D.C. prohibit ALL drivers from texting.
We all can improve our driving habits, and with this awareness and given the weight of the current evidence, do we really have a choice? STOP DRIVING WHILE INTEXTICATED!
Dr. Cabaret is triple board-certified in Pain Medicine, Addiction Medicine, and Anesthesiology. He has three areas of focus: Interventional Pain Management, Regenerative Medicine, and Addiction Medicine. He has been treating patients with pain for 26 years and he can help you too.