Texting While Driving Facts
By: Good2GoPublished: February 19, 2014
Distracted driving is a major road safety concern and it puts your life and the lives of others at risk. In fact, distractions while driving were the cause of 3,328 automobile deaths in the U.S. in 2012. Some of the most common distractions while driving include:
- Talking on the phone or to other passengers
- Eating and drinking (non-alcohol)
- Grooming (applying makeup, styling hair, shaving, etc.)
- Adjusting the radio or GPS
- Playing electronic games
- Browsing the Internet on a mobile device
But the worst offender is – you guessed it – texting while driving. Driving requires three levels of attention: visual (eyes are on the road), manual (hands are on the wheel) and cognitive (mind is on the road). Texting requires all three of these attentions from the driver, which makes it the most alarming distraction. So what’s being done about this epidemic?
Texting While Driving Laws
In order to curb the number of people texting while driving, state governments in the U.S. have established texting and driving laws that prohibit drivers from texting while behind the wheel. Washington was the first state to pass a texting ban back in 2007, and currently, 41 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands have banned text messaging for all drivers. Below is a chart listing all 50 states and their laws regarding texting and driving. A primary offense allows an officer to pull you over and issue a citation if you are found to be texting while driving. A secondary offense allows the officer to write you a citation for texting while driving after you are pulled over for a primary offense such as running through a stop sign.
Unfortunately, mandatory laws don’t seem to be enough to stop drivers from reaching for their cellphones to send a short “BRT” or “TTYL.” While there are punishments for getting caught texting while driving, they are so mild that drivers pay little attention to them. That’s why education is the best solution to prevent texting and driving. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have joined forces to raise awareness about the dangers of texting while driving. Some of their most notable campaigns include:
- “One Text or Call Could Wreck It all”
- “Stop the Texts, Stop the Wrecks” advertisement
- “Faces of Distracted Driving” online video series
- “Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other” enforcement program
Perhaps the most popular campaign to date is the “It Can Wait” campaign where teens can take the pledge to not text and drive. Teens and young adults are more likely to text and drive than adults, and drivers that text are two times more likely to get into an accident.
The objective of these initiatives is to show the consequences of texting while driving and how it can deeply affect the lives of those involved. Dealing with the loss of a loved one, recovering from serious injuries, and paying for car damages and court costs are possible results. The goal of these initiatives is to help drivers become more aware of the dangers they are exposed to when they text and drive, with the hopes that they will change their risky driving behaviors.
“No Texting While Driving” Apps
If you’re a concerned parent worried about your teen, here are a few texting while driving apps that you can install to keep them safe:
- TextBuster: This password-protected app requires the installment of a hardware device into your teen’s car. The hardware temporarily disables text messaging, email and Internet access while the vehicle is moving. The free app is available for Android devices.
- DriveMode: From AT&T, this app automatically launches once the car is moving faster than 25 mph. The app responds to all incoming texts and emails, letting the sender know the recipient is in the middle driving. The free app is available for AT&T customers with Android and BlackBerry devices.
- DriveScribe: This free app monitors the driver’s speed, and blocks text messages and calls while the car is in motion. The app also tells the driver to slow down if they’re going too fast. Parents can access a report of the driver’s contact to see if they exceeded the speed limit or ran any stop signs.
- Textecution: This Android app “kills” off texting ability if the device is moving faster than 10 mph. Parents can install the device on their teen’s phone so they know their child is safe behind the wheel.
Be on the lookout for other text blocking apps and devices that disable your phone when you or your teen is in the car. In fact, if you install a text blocking device in your vehicle, you could be eligible for a 5% discount off your auto insurance with Good2Go’s Cell Phone Safety Discount.
People who text and drive aren’t the only dangers on the road. Accidents happen and you need to protect yourself when the unexpected occurs. Good2Go Auto Insurance provides minimum coverage car insurance to protect you affordably. So start your online car insurance quote and begin driving safely for less.