April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Many distractions exist while driving, but cell phones are a top distraction. So many drivers use them for long periods of time each day. Almost everyone has seen a driver distracted by a cell phone.
Every year in the U.S., almost a half million people are injured or killed in traffic accidents attributed to the combination of texting and driving. The statistics are shocking, especially in view of the fact that this danger could be completely avoided. According to statistics compiled by the Department of Transportation in 2018, 3477 people died and another 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes caused by drivers who were distracted because they were texting or using cell phones.
Texting can make vehicle accidents 23 times more likely to happen.
Texting, by its very nature, involves at least three separate physical/mental actions, all of which take attention away from the road ahead and potential driving hazards.
- Visual – instead of watching the road ahead, your eyes are looking for a message.
- Manual – to us your phone, your hand or hands must be taken off the wheel while the vehicle is in motion.
- Cognitive –your mind is no longer on your driving but on understanding the messages and communicating to others.
To make matters worse, the urge to text is almost addictive; people tend to read and answer text messages and cell phone calls immediately. They leave their cell phones turned on so they do not miss any messages or calls. Within the few seconds of time used to perform this activity, an accident can occur. The average time taken away from watching the road ahead is just five seconds. In that time period, a vehicle traveling at 55 mph will go the length of a football field. With attention distracted, it is like driving blindfolded for those few seconds. The results can and often are fatal.