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The statistics on Texting While Driving (TWD), yes there is an acronym for this, are just starting to be collected and the numbers are staggering. The University of North Texas Health Science Center undertook a study and analyzed date and fatality reports as well as data from the FCC an CTIA and found 16,141 deaths attributed to TWD.

Since the release of the Blackberry and the proliferation of smart phones (Androids, iPhone’s, etc.) which most teen prefer to own, these statistics have become more frightening  as is the need to stop this out of control national trend. What makes this more egregious is that adults are as guilty, if not more than teens, and they are suppose to be the role models for their children yet oftentimes text and drive more than teens.

Below are some cell phone and texting statistics from the law firm Edgar Snyder and Associates,  the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, The University of North Texas Health Science Center, The PEW Institute, The University of Utah and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):


Texting While Driving Statistics

  • National Safety Council Estimates that at Least 1.6 Million Crashes Each Year Involve Drivers Using Cell Phones and Texting.
  • Despite the risks, the majority of teen drivers ignore cell phone driving restrictions.
  • Talking on a cell phone while driving can make a young driver’s reaction time as slow as that of a 70-year-old.
  • 56% of teenagers admit to talking on their cell phones behind the wheel, while 13% admit to texting while driving. (Note: Because this information was given voluntarily by teens, actual cell phone use numbers may be much higher.)
  • 40% of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger.
  • 48% of young Americans from 12-17 say they’ve been in a car while the driver was texting.
  • 52% of 16 and 17 year-old teen drivers confess to making and answering cell phone calls on the road. 34% admit to text messaging while driving. Teens themselves confirm that texting is their number one driving distraction.
  • 11% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.
  • 18% of injury crashes in 2010 were reported as distraction-affected crashes.
  • Each year, 21% of fatal car crashes involving teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 were the result of cell phone usage. This result has been expected to grow as much as 4% every year
  • When asked about the impact of sending text messages or e-mails while driving, however, 25% of all drivers said it makes no difference (NHTSA).
  • Of all cell phone related tasks – including talking, dialing, or reaching for the phone – texting while driving is the most dangerous.
  • Teen drivers are four times more likely than adults to get into car crashes or near crash events directly related to talking on a cell phone or texting.
  • A car driver dialing a cell phone is 2.8 times more likely to get into a crash than a non-distracted driver.
  • A driver reaching for a cell phone or any other electronic device is 1.4 times more likely to experience a car crash.
  • A car driver talking on their phone is 1.3 times more likely to get into an accident.
  • A truck driver texting while driving is 23.2 times more likely to get into an accident than a trucker paying full attention to the road.
  • A truck driver dialing a cell is 5.9 times more likely to crash.
  • A trucker reaching for a phone or other device is 6.7 times more likely to experience a truck accident.
  • For every 6 seconds of drive time, a driver sending or receiving a text message spends 4.6 of those seconds with their eyes off the road. This makes texting the most distracting of all cell phone related tasks.
  • 20 percent of injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving. (NHTSA).
  • Of those killed in distracted-driving-related crashed, 995 involved reports of a cell phone as a distraction (18% of fatalities in distraction-related crashes). (NHTSA)
  • In 2009, 5,474 people were killed in U.S. roadways and an estimated additional 448,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes that were reported to have involved distracted driving. (FARS and GES)
  • The age group with the greatest proportion of distracted drivers was the under-20 age group – 16 percent of all drivers younger than 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted while driving. (NHTSA)
  • Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
  • Deaths from distracted driving rose 28% from 2005 to 2008, at the same time text messaging rates skyrocketed from 1 million texts per month in 2001 up to a staggering 110 million per month in 2008.
  • Handset ownership also ballooned-in 1999, only 33% of Americans had a cell phone, while in 2008, 91% had a cell phone. Presumably, increased ownership leads to increased in the car usage and an increase in the rate of distracted driving.
  • 6% of US drivers, at any given time, are using a cell phone while behind the wheel. Though this figure has remained steady since 2005, usage has changed from talking while driving to the more dangerous texting while driving.
  • Using a cell phone use while driving, whether it’s hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent.