So what’s the truth about texting and driving today? What do the statistics say and how do you feel about it yourself? We’ve gathered some interesting information so that you can get a clearer picture of the issue and decide for yourself. Take a look at the latest data:
Statistics on Texting and Driving
A texting while driving study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that, “Text messaging made the risk of crash or near-crash event 23.2 times as high as non-distracted driving” while driving heavy vehicles or trucks. The same study purports that:
“A real key to significantly improving safety is keeping your eyes on the road. In contrast, “cognitively intense” tasks such as emotional conversations, or listening to books-on-tape, can have a measurable effect in the laboratory, but the actual driving risks are much lower in comparison.”
A study by Clemson University said that, “Text messaging and using iPods caused drivers to leave their lanes 10 percent more often.”
Does Siri Make Texting Safer?
On the topic of hands-free cellphone use, the risk comes with the actions of dialing, searching for contacts and any other behavior that causes a driver to take their eyes off the road or interact with a phone physically. That being said, the new voice activated Siri technology available in the latest iPhone 4S could be a step closer to proving more safety. With Siri, the press of a button allows you to direct the phone to complete simple tasks like searching for something on Google, or dictating and sending an entire text message. However, according to San Jose Police Spokesman Jose Garcia from a CBS Local San Francisco article on texting and driving, “Siri is, in essence, a speaker phone which is legal. But if a driver touches the phone or looks at the directions on the screen, then it becomes a violation of the state’s hands-free cellphone law.”
Teens and Texting and Driving
The texting and driving statistics are a bit more dramatic in the teen population. According to a Nielsen study, the average teen using a mobile device will send and receive approximately 2,899 text messages per month. And according to a study conducted by AAA and Seventeen Magazine, 61% of teens admit to risky driving habits. And among those, 46% admit to texting while driving. That’s over 28% of the teen population!
Take a look at this texting while driving bans map shown below, found on the IIHS website. The map shows that text messaging is currently banned in 35 states in the US. 7 states have a partial ban, meaning usually that only novice/young drivers carry the restriction and 7 other states have no ban whatsoever.
So there are the facts; now you be the judge. Has texting while driving affected your life personally? Do you think it’s a big problem that should be legally enforced or is it something that can be controlled on an individual basis with enough education?