10 Shocking Texting and Driving Death Statistics

Five years ago, Newsday reported that texting and driving usurped drinking and driving as the number one killer of teens behind the wheel.  While parents of new drivers know about the dangers of distracted driving, the smartphone has remained one of the biggest dangers among new drivers. According to the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving is the culprit behind nine percent of the fatal crashes among the 15-19 age group. In 2015, distracted driving killed more than 3,000 individuals—or about 9 people each day.

The true statistics behind texting and driving, however, might be a bit murkier to decipher. Some drivers might not admit to texting—when they actually do it—or a crash may never result from the distraction. These drivers won’t appear in a police report or show up in the statistics. But any time a driver is using the phone behind the wheel, the risk for a crash—and a fatality—increases. According to the NHTSA, about half a million drivers are using a cell phone on the road each day.

We do know, though, that many lives have been lost because of texting and driving. And their stories appear in newspapers across the country. Victims are babies, toddlers, mothers, fathers, grandparents. Each death could have been prevented. Each texting and driving death statistic illustrates just how terrible this trend has become.

Here are 10 scary statistics that you need to know about texting and driving:

Texting while driving is the equivalent of throwing a Hail Mary pass…except there is no game-winning touchdown.

The Hail Mary pass in football covers the length of an entire football field. It’s nearly impossible. But it’s been done by a few quarterbacks to the delight of their fans. When you text and drive at 55 miles per hour, your car travels the depth of a football field. Imagine traveling that distance as your eyes are glued onto your screen. This Hail Mary isn’t just risky, it can be fatal.

In Texas, a driver who allegedly admitted to texting while driving killed 13 people.

In 2017, a church minibus was hit by a truck. The driver was allegedly texting at the time of the crash, which killed 13 people.  

You cannot do two things at once…safely!

Multitasking is a lie, and multitasking behind the wheel puts drivers at an unnecessary—and possibly elevated—risk. Inattentive blindness means that while you are focusing on one task, your mind takes attention from another. This causes a driver to miss vital cues in front of them or around them. You cannot drive and text safely. While texting and driving puts all drivers at a risk for a crash, teens who have less experience on the road must keep their mind on driving!

In the UK, a toddler being pushed in a stroller was struck and killed by a distracted driver.

Three kids were struck by a driver who was allegedly texting at the time of the crash. A toddler who was being pushed in her stroller was killed and two other children were injured. The driver was later sentenced to jail for six years.

Many states have enacted cell phone bans and other laws.

Driving and playing on a cell phone isn’t just dangerous, it also may be illegal. Each state has its own laws guiding how distracted driving infractions are enforced. Some states issue small fines, but others take the issue further. You may pay a hefty fine—$500 in Alaska! Plus, if you cause the death of another individual because of the distraction, you may face felony charges in the states. In Europe, the legal stakes are even higher. Chronic texting offenders can face jail time in Ireland, but even a first time offense comes with a fine of 1,000 euros (that’s about $1,178).

The Textalyzer might be law enforcement’s weapon of the future.

Those driving under the influence of alcohol cannot escape the results of a breathalyzer. While law enforcement has not always been able to definitively prove if a driver has been distracted by a phone, a new device may fix that issue. The Textalyzer could analyze a phone’s data to see if a driver has been texting while driving and would help determine if texting (or the phone) was the cause of a crash. Not complying with a Textalyzer could cause a driver to have their license revoked.

You’re risk for a crash is 23 times higher if you’re texting.

Even if another driver makes an error, you should still have time to react. Unless you’re texting. Reading or sending a text message increases your crash risk 23 times. Is LOL really worth the risk?

Parents who text set a deadly example.

If teens see their parent texting while driving, then this behavior may be viewed as acceptable. Before discussing the dangers of distracted driving with teens, set the example by putting away the phone. “Do as I say, not as I do” is an ineffective way to communicate.

1 in 4 drivers are dialed in during a crash.

According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, one in four drivers used a cell phone right before they were involved in a crash. But ‘right before’ is quite literal—a minute before the impact!

Distracted driving is now an epidemic.

An article in Fortune cited research by Everquote that found that 96 percent of respondents to a survey stated that they were safe drivers. Yet, over half of them also reported phone use behind the wheel. The takeaway? Most drivers don’t realize that the phone impacts safety. The survey polled 2,300 drivers.

The phone follows teens nearly everywhere, and, unfortunately, this even includes the car. Distracted driving is dangerous and deadly. No driver can safely navigate a car and a cell phone at the same time. For more statistics, check out our article 100 Distracted Driving Facts and Statistics for 2018.

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