Langer & Langer on Texting and Driving
Posted By Steven Langer
Cellphones Are Now More Lethal Than Beer Cans
It’s official. Distracted driving—which includes texting while driving—has leapfrogged speeding and DUI as the number-one cause of traffic accidents.
Check out these shocking statistics. The reaction time of a person who is driving while texting is the same as someone who is driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Further, the average time someone’s eyes are off the road when texting when driving is five seconds. If a person who is texting behind the wheel is driving at 55 miles an hour, they will drive the length of a football field without looking at the road. That gives plenty of opportunity for accidents to occur. The drivers most affected by this are those age 20 and younger.
Teenagers aren’t the only ones texting and driving, though. Statistics show 27 percent of adults have texted while driving. Teenagers see adults do this, and they think it’s okay to do it too. Texting and driving statistics are pretty grim. They show that people, and particularly young people, are not getting the message that texting while driving is dangerous. Thirteen percent of car accidents involving people ages 18 to 20 are caused by young drivers texting. Seventy-seven percent of young adults say they are confident they can safely drive and text.
The fact is, texting while driving makes a driver of any age 23 percent more likely to have a crash. Nationwide, in 2011, drivers who were texting while behind the wheel caused 1.3 million car crashes.
Laws Regarding Texting and Driving
In an effort to reduce the number of car accidents caused by texting while driving, laws have been enacted to curb this activity. While the federal government today strongly discourages texting and driving through a number of public outreach and education initiatives, there are currently no national laws against it. However, in Indiana, cellphone use of any kind is banned for drivers under the age of 18, and texting while driving is specifically banned for everyone in the state, regardless of age.
But these only go so far. Therefore…
How Parents Can Prevent Their Teens from Texting & Driving
Driving while texting prevention starts at home. Adults can set a good example for teenagers by not texting while driving. They also can look into apps that monitor a driver’s behavior and provide real-time feedback with safety tips. Apps like these can help parents monitor their teens’ driving habits as well as their own.
Taking the Text-Free Driving Pledge as a family is a good idea too. Keeping each other accountable for safe driving habits and instilling them early in new drivers will go a long way toward preventing distracted-driving accidents. Of course, teaching teens to avoid texting while driving in the first place is the best lesson to emphasize. Make sure your family avoids becoming another texting and driving statistic by imparting safe-driving habits from the start.