I think we can all agree: new technology offers many benefits - computers have allowed lightning fast data processing, the internet created a global world, and mobile phones provide us with convenience and a valuable safety tool.
Unfortunately, the law of unintended consequences almost always rears its ugly head when it comes to technological advances. In terms of cell phones, one of the most dangerous consequences has proved to be a rise in distracted driving.
More than three decades of successful campaigning have resulted in the number of drunk driving deaths being reduced by over half...the goal has now shifted to reducing the alarming number of accidents and deaths caused by a modern foe.
MADD - Mothers Against Drunk Driving
In the 1980s, MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) brought national attention to the tragic number of annual deaths caused by drunk drivers. More than three decades of successful campaigning have resulted in the number of drunk driving deaths being reduced by over half - down from roughly 25,000 in 1980, to 9967 in 2014, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
While this is encouraging news, the goal has now shifted to reducing the alarming number of accidents and deaths caused by a modern foe - the use of electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle.
Exactly how big is the problem of texting and driving? Below, I'll cover the hard numbers in terms of how many people commit this dangerous act and the serious safety issues it creates. I'll also talk about the legal status and ramifications of distracted driving across the U.S., and what you can do to fight this critical traffic safety hazard.
Finally, I'll answer your FAQ (frequently asked questions) about texting and driving.
In This Guide
The Facts About Texting and Driving
There is plenty of publicity surrounding this treacherous activity, such as the "It Can Wait" campaign from AT&T Wireless. Perhaps the most convincing argument, however, is the data which has been collected through studies and surveys on the dangers of texting while driving. Statistics on texting and driving can be eye opening to those who don't see this as a real highway safety issue.
Part of a Larger Problem
While the government and other entities do track texting and driving statistics specifically to some extent, this behind-the-wheel behavior is also considered one element in a set of behaviors known as distracted driving. Other distracted driving activities include eating, using a GPS, and fiddling with a radio. Experts, however, consider the dangers of texting and driving to be the most detrimental to motorist safety because it causes all three types of distractions defined by the CDC:
- Visual - taking your eyes off the road
- Manual - taking your hand(s) off the wheel
- Cognitive - taking your mind off driving
These three factors work in concert to create a potentially devastating situation for drivers, passengers, other motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. The problem is equally dangerous whether you're driving on a small country two-lane road or a multi-lane expressway - no matter where you are, distracted driving can easily turn into a tragedy.
Did You Know: If you injure someone as a result of distracted driving, you not only could hurt or kill someone or yourself, you could also end up in court on charges of driver negligence.