Fun Fact: If you’re driving 55 mph and look down at your phone to do something (an activity that averages around 5 seconds), you’ll have travelled the distance of an entire football field by the time you look back up. Keep that in mind for later.
As of today, there is some form of legal texting and driving ban in 49 of the 50 states in the U.S. This alone tells a story about the enormous impact that distracted driving has on our roadways. But what are the consequences if someone chooses to ignore these laws and continues to drive distracted? Let’s look at the statistics to find out.
The first issue that isn’t discussed a lot is the effect that it has on hair loss. That’s right, HAIR LOSS – because traffic congestion makes a lot of us want to pull our hair out. In all seriousness, a study conducted in 2011 by the University of Alabama showed that “distraction (in most cases, text messaging) had a significantly negative impact on traffic flow, such that participants exhibited greater fluctuation in speed, changed lanes significantly fewer times, and took longer to complete the scenario. In turn, more simulated vehicles passed the participant drivers while they were texting or talking on a cell phone than while undistracted.” That was six years ago when smartphones were still “meh” and staying connected wasn’t near as big of a deal as it is now. Can you imagine the real world implications this has on today’s roads? If you’re someone who would rather walk on hot coals than be stuck in traffic (and also value your hairline), remember that those who are on their phone could be a major contributor to the problem!
Moving past traffic flow, the more sobering statistics lie within the numbers regarding injuries and death. The Department of Motor Vehicles reports that an average of 9 people are killed every day in the U.S. according to CDC statistics. That math adds up fast, resulting in 3,285 or around 10% of total traffic deaths that could have been prevented year after year. This isn’t even taking into account the number of injuries resulting from distracted driving, which came in right around 391,000 in 2015! The scariest thing is that unfortunately, those numbers might grow as more drivers hit the road and technology becomes more entrenched into our lives!
Not all distracted driving involves texting, but the vast majority involves some sort of activity on a smartphone including checking the GPS, changing music, taking a photo, and other connected activities. You might be able to guess that the largest age group reported as distracted at the time of fatal crashes are in the range of 16-24 years old, but that fact doesn’t immunize the rest of us from the risk of being involved in a similar accident if we choose to drive distracted. If your attention is divided between a phone and the road, you’re putting a lot at risk. Check out the video below to see just how “easy” it is for people to text and drive.
So how do we solve this issue? Normally you’d see an article like this with a list along the lines of “5 Best Tips to Stop Driving Distracted,” but there really is only one good tip: Stop doing it.
Realistically, it can be hard. Maybe you have important things you need to communicate, maybe you’re in a rush somewhere and just need to do something “really quick” on your phone, maybe it’s just not that big of a deal to you. What you need to remember is the statistic mentioned at the beginning of this article: five seconds = an entire football field. What could you fit on a football field? What could happen in that amount of space? With the fact that over 800,000 people are driving distracted at any time, more people are lucky than not. The real question is, do you want to take that chance?
We value the safety of not only our customers but of everyone on the road. Driving your vehicle is a big responsibility, one that can have major repercussions depending on how you do it. We hope that you make the right decision and put your phone down while you’re behind the wheel!