How Bad is Distracted Driving?
You have seen it. You may even have been the example. However you can relate – distracted driving is a serious threat to public safety. How serious? Distracted driving is a leading cause of car crashes in the United States. Texting, talking on a cell phone, and eating and drinking are the most common driver distractions.
Distracted driving continues to be a problem in Texas as data indicates that drivers are not changing their behaviors. With 1 in 5 crashes involving distracted driving – a ratio that has not changed in the past three years – this should be a sobering call to awareness.Statistics courtesy of Txdot and DMV.
In 2017, the total number of reportable motor vehicle traffic crashes on Texas roads was 537,475. Of those, 100,687 or 19% involved distracted driving (driver distraction, inattention or cellphone use). The 100,687 crashes in Texas resulted in 444 deaths and 2,889 serious injuries.
Every year, about 421,000 people are injured in crashes that have involved a driver who was distracted in some way. Each year, over 330,000 accidents caused by texting while driving lead to severe injuries. This means that over 78% of all distracted drivers are distracted because they have been texting while driving.
In 2016 alone, 3,450 people were killed.
According to a study conducted by the Cohen Children’s Medical Center, distracted driving crashes cause 9% more teen deaths than alcohol-related accidents. The more passengers that are in the car, the higher the accident risk for teenage drivers.
Let’s say that one more time- distracted driving causes more teen deaths than alcohol-related accidents! But before you think to get on your teenager about the risks, consider that parents are largely responsible for their teen’s risky behavior. 15% of youth drivers have witnessed their parents send or read text messages while behind the wheel.
The statewide ban on texting and driving was one of 673 new Texas laws as of Sept. 1. If you’re driving, you can still use your phone to talk hands-free. But texting and driving state-wide is strictly illegal.