Statistics Linking Car Wrecks to Texting and Driving are Worse Than Ever
June is National Safety Month, and even though the month of weddings, graduations and Father’s Day celebrations is almost over, it’s the perfect time to be reminded of the dangers of distracted driving—specifically texting and driving. The kids are out of school, home from college, in summer camp and road trips are calling. However, just one text, Facebook notification or phone call can bring everything crumbling down.
According to the National Safety Council (NSF), which just published a new report comparing 2014 statistics (so far) to 2013, “cell phone usage” is involved in 26 percent of all automobile crashes around the country. This is a slight increase from 2013, but even one additional accident can take lives and destroy countless others.
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The NSF also reports that more people are distracted by talking on hands-free or handheld cellphones rather than texting, which is a surprising twist. In collaboration with Texas A&M Research Institute, the “Voice to Text Driver Distraction Study” found that talking is inherently more dangerous than texting, and those talk to text apps aren’t doing drivers any favors.
In fact, texting actually takes less time than using a voice to text app. However, the study is quick to point out that both tasks (texting or using voice to text) “equally affect” a driver’s ability to be safe. According to the report, different tasks have different impacts on a person’s “mental workload” based on cognitive studies. Talking on a handheld phone has a 2.45 rating, hands-free talking has 2.27, and speech to text has 3.06.
As of June 1, 2014, 245,358 crashes involving the use of a cellphone have been reported this year alone. However, the NSC says that this data is likely under-reported since not many people will admit to using phones if they’re involved in an accident. Also in 2014, the three days around New Year’s Day had the highest reports of drinking and driving.
Of course, some statistics (such as the reality of dangerous practices behind the wheel) remain the same throughout the years—but the number of people engaging in them changes. The Distraction.gov website reminds drivers that:
Texting and driving means you’re three times more likely to get into a collision
Five seconds is the average span a person has their eyes off the road to read a text…
…and that’s long enough to drive the length of a football field if you’re going 55 mphEducation is the best way to stop distracted driving
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It takes a two-prong approach. Don’t use your phone while driving, but keep in mind that other drivers on the road might not be so responsible. Practice those defensive driving skills.
If you do get into an accident, make sure you get all the key information necessary at the scene. Get our free accident reporting guide now and keep it in the car just in case. Being prepared is key.