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Texting While Driving Stats: We Know It's Wrong, We Still Do It.

The McClellan Law Firm

The number of adults who text while they drive has gone up 60 percent in three years, despite nationwide efforts to combat texting while driving. Now, it appears adults text while driving more than teenagers. In a survey by AT&T, 49 percent of adults and 43 percent of teenagers admit to texting while driving even though 98 percent say it is dangerous.

It appears we have all heard the statistics:

  • When we send or receive a text message, our eyes leave the road for 4.6 seconds, or the length of a football field at 55 mph.
  • Texting while driving increases the risk of a car accident by 2300 percent
  • Distracted driving causes 11 percent of all fatal accidents involving drivers under 20 years old

So why don't we put our phones down? The reasons vary from person-to-person. Some say they need it for work (imagine that response just 20 years ago!). Others say they are better drivers and have better reflexes than other people who text while driving. Still others simply don't think they will be the ones to cause car accidents.

Tell that to someone who was killed by a distracted driver or someone who caused a serious texting-while-driving accident. It seems it takes an accident to get someone's eyes and attention back on the road.

Awareness campaigns can go a long way -- drivers know that texting while driving is dangerous. Unfortunately, it takes more than that to convince people to stop driving distracted. AT&T suggests businesses ask for a personal commitment from their employees to stop texting while driving. Many safe driving advocates suggest a different solution: "Let's make it impossible to use a cell phone while driving," they say, supporting technology that can turn off the signals to a cell phone while someone is driving.

In California, texting while driving is illegal, but a new law allows drivers to use a voice-operated and hands-free device to send text messages. While it may be safer than texting, the CEO of the National Safety Council, Janet Froetscher, points out, "There is no research or evidence that indicates voice-activated technologies eliminate or even reduce distraction."

Perhaps the advent of autonomous cars will be our solution to eliminate distracted driving and save thousands of lives. Until then, we all have a conscious choice to make. Let's stay safe out there.