The dawn of 21st century brought about the communication revolution, which has put a cell phone in every pocket. Each and every person is ‘online’ and connected to his/her acquaintances all the time.
It has become a habit for most people to check their phones for texts or emails constantly.
Compelled by their habit and the peer pressure to respond, many a people don’t hesitate to reply a text even while driving, although, it is illegal and extremely dangerous to their own lives and those of others.
Texting while driving has overtook drunken driving as a leading cause for adolescent death.
It is, therefore, a need of the hour to let ourselves be informed about the severe repercussions that may arise out of our seemingly small habit to reply a text swiftly, even while driving.
We are going to discuss some shocking facts about texting while driving that may serve as an eye opener for the footloose mobile generation in a hope to save some lives. Drive Safe!
Check out the shocking statistics listed in the infographic below.
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These days, much of society is so reliant on their smartphone that it almost constitutes an addiction, especially amongst the younger generation. For some, their need to check and use their phone is so great that they’re even willing to do it whilst they should be concentrating on something more important, driving for example.
Texting, or otherwise using your phone, whilst driving is obviously dangerous. If a driver is distracted or takes their eyes of the road for even a moment, the consequences could be disastrous. In 2015, The Huffington Post reported that 9 Americans were killed every day in car crashes caused by a distracted driver and that using a phone whilst driving increases the likelihood of a crash occurring by up to four times.
According to Gov.uk, it is illegal in the UK to use a mobile device whilst driving, even if you are stationary in a traffic jam or at a traffic light. If you get caught breaking this law, the penalty will be three points on your driving licence and a £100 fine. The only time it is legal to use your phone in a car is if you are parked, if you are a passenger or if you are calling an emergency number such as 999.
Despite these risks and consequences, many still continue to text or check their mobile phone whilst driving. In 2015, The Daily Mail claimed that more than 500,000 drivers use their phones whilst driving. “Don’t think it’s okay because you consider yourself a great driver,” warns idrivesafely.com.
The obvious solution is to stop using mobile phones altogether whilst driving; turn them off before you start driving if you need to, so that you’re less tempted to reach for your phone and don’t get distracted by incoming calls or messages. If you absolutely feel the need to use your phone then you could pull over to do so, or use hands-free technology so that you can talk with both hands still on the wheel.
Hands-free technology is now available to text while you drive by translating what you say out loud into a text message, however, Scientific American claims that this still poses a danger. Hands-free technology should be used only when absolutely required to minimise the risk of accidents.
Think! also offers advice for those not behind the steering wheel, suggesting that you should not attempt to call or text anyone if you are aware that they are driving at that time. Think about how guilty you would feel if you knew that your friend was in a car accident whilst replying to your message!
Anything that distracts you whilst driving makes the road much more dangerous for both yourself, your passengers and the cars around you. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists three different types of distraction for a driver:
- Visual: taking your eyes off the road;
- Manual: taking your hands off the wheel; and
- Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving.
Texting using a handheld device covers all three of these areas, so it is surprising that 77% of young adults are confident that they can safely text and drive at the same time. The Safe Driver states that 85-90% of accidents are caused by driver-error, often due to the driver being distracted, so people’s confidence when texting and driving seems a little unrealistic.
In fact, it has been shown that texting while driving reduces your reaction times by 35%, whereas driving under the influence of alcohol reduces them by 12% and driving on drugs reduces them by 21%. I’m sure much less people are guilty of the latter two offenses than the first one, so why do people think texting while driving is okay?
If you’d like to read more about texting and mobile phone use whilst driving,The AA and The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents have all of the stats and information on their websites.
Using your mobile phone while driving
The 6 Most Common Causes of Automobile Crashes
How do accidents happen? (A study of more then 7,000 crashes in the UK)
The dangers of texting while driving
Drivers on mobiles ‘often texting or on internet’
Mobile phones: Using ANY mobile phone when driving is dangerous
Texting whilst driving
Top 25 Causes of Car Accidents (Distracted driving is the number # 1 cause)
Top Causes of Death by Age and Gender (By Office for National Statistics, UK)
10 Leading Causes of Death by Age Group, United States – 2010 [PDF file]