We live in an era where multitasking is king. The better you are at juggling many tasks at once, the more successful and productive you appear to be.
Since driving is often considered a waste of valuable productivity time, millions of people try to compromise by texting in the car. But if you’re behind the wheel when you engage in this behavior, you’re playing a deadly game.
The dangers of texting and driving are real. If you’re not a believer yet, or you need to convince someone else, these facts are here to guide you.
As of 2021, almost every state and U.S. territory has made it illegal to text and drive. The laws vary, but they all say the same thing: texting when you’re behind the wheel is distracting and dangerous.
The laws categorize how you can use your phone when you’re driving in four ways:
- Banning all hand-held devices across the board
- Banning all hand-held devices for school bus drivers
- Banning cell phones for novice drivers
- Banning text messaging for everyone
If you are in an accident, there’s a spot on the police form that lets the officer cite distracted driving as the cause. The only two states that don’t have this section are Connecticut and New Hampshire.
However, even if the state you’re in is lenient on the texting laws, the local officer that tickets you over may not be. Unless the state has a preemption law that prohibits jurisdiction-specific distracted driving bans, you’ll have to abide by the rules where you were pulled over.
You may get away with texting and driving for a while, but the odds are not in your favor. Statistics show that when you engage in this distracted behavior, you’re 23 times more likely to cause an accident.
On average, when you look away from the road, you do so for five seconds. Putting it in perspective, at 55 mph, that’s the length of a football field. In short, it’s definitely enough time to miss someone changing lanes, swerve into another lane, or hit a pedestrian.
Nearly two million accidents each year are caused by someone texting and driving. If you don’t want to be a statistic, put the phone down.
Teens are already learning the ropes of driving. It’s hard enough when you are giving the road your full attention. But if you’re distracted and you don’t have a lot of experience, you don’t know how to avoid a possible collision.
Unfortunately, almost all teen drivers understand the dangers that go with texting and driving. Nearly half of them admit they still do it anyway.
Studies show that slightly more than one out of every five fatal accidents with a teen was due to cell phone distraction. The more passengers in the car, the more likely a teenage driver is to crash.
And here’s the important thing to remember. If a teenager causes an accident that ends up killing someone, they have to live with that guilt for the rest of their lives. Even if they’re not punished criminally, they’ll punish themselves mentally.
This goes for every driver, too. Instead of taking the chance that you’ll kill yourself or someone, pull over if you have to check your phone.
How many times have you tried to change lines, only to pull back fast when you see a car that was in your blind spot? Or you’ve tried to turn, then saw a motorcycle at the last second?
The “Look Twice, Save a Life” slogan is geared toward bike riders, but it applies to everyone. If you look, then look again before you turn, you’re less likely to deal with surprises. They do happen sometimes, though, and distracted drivers react more slowly.
In fact, texting and driving slows your reaction time by 37%, compared to the 13% that a person drinking at the legal limit is delayed. You may think you’re being safe, but you’re actually driving worse than a person impaired by alcohol.
Is the conversation you’re having or the site you’re surfing worth tens of thousands of dollars or more? That’s what it’ll cost you if you’re caught.
An accident caused by distracted driving is expensive. Your insurance rates are going to skyrocket. The ticket you’ll get will probably be in the hundreds of dollars, depending on the state you’re in and your history.
While your insurance pays for the other party’s medical expenses and any legal costs, the damages add up significantly. Cell phone accidents cost an average of $43 billion each year, which ends up paid for by everyone who takes out an insurance policy.
When you’re debating on multitasking or putting your phone away, keep these statistics in mind. Texting and driving is a serious problem, and it can be a fatal one.