A texting driver is 23 times more likely to have an accident than a non-texting driver. However, one million people chat and text while driving each day. The average text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for nearly five seconds, so when traveling at 55mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field. Most experts agree texting and driving is equal to driving drunk.
According to the American Automobile Association, almost 50% of teen drivers admit to texting while behind the wheel. The US government puts the number of people injured during crashes because of texting while driving at over 578,000 just for 2010 alone. In that same year, almost 6,500 people lost their lives because of texting behind the wheel.
Most states have instituted laws that ban texting while driving, and even ban the use of mobile phones while driving, unless you’re using a hands-free system. That means you can be pulled over and ticketed for just talking on your phone, much less for being caught trying to text while driving.What Can You Do?
- Don’t be tempted; turn off your cell phone. Let voicemail capture your voice and text messages.
- If you have to call or text while driving, pull off the road safely and stop.
- Recognize that text messaging can be a habit. Get support from your friends by letting them know you are working on breaking the texting habit.
- If you think you will still be tempted to text and drive, put your phone somewhere you can’t reach it, like the trunk.
- Establish family rules that prohibit texting while driving.
- Take control of your cell phone; don’t let it control you. You are the only one who decides when and if you send and read a text message.