As many of our teens are graduating this month, we thought we’d bring the texting-while-driving issue up again, as many people find our blog for this search term. Teens are definitely a high-risk group of drivers, considering that, according to Nielsen, “The average U.S. mobile teen now sends or receives an average of 2,899 text-messages per month” and apparently some of those texts are being sent and read from behind the wheel.
A 2007 study conducted by AAA and Seventeen magazine found is that “61 percent of teens admit to risky driving habits.” Forty-six percent of that 61 percent say that they text message while driving. And that was back in 2007—how high do you think those numbers are now? Probably sky high…
And it’s not just teens who are texting from behind the wheel; a recently released study by the VirginiaTech Transportation Institute found that truck drivers who were texting were 23 times more at risk of a “crash or near crash event” than “nondistracted driving.” What about just talking on the phone while driving? The same study found no increased risk for truck drivers talking on the phone while driving, but a 1.3-times increased risk for car drivers.
Do you have a hands-free phone in your car? Maybe you’re using headphones or a speaker, but you’re still dialing a number by hand—dangerous!! The study found that there was considerably more risk associated with dialing while driving. As reported by CNET’s Jennifer Guevin, the study also found that “texting took a driver’s focus away from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds–enough time…to travel the length of a football field at 55 mph.” The length of a football field! That’s more than enough time for a person—or child—to run out in front of your car while you’re distracted.
Research on distracted driving reveals some surprising facts:
- Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent. (Source: Carnegie Mellon)
- Nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted driver, and more than half a million were injured. (NHTSA)
- The younger, inexperienced drivers under 20 years old have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.
- 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)
- 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. (Source: University of Utah)
- Risk of collision increases by up to 400% when talking on a cell phone while driving
- Nearly 80% of collisions involve some form of driver inattention (distraction, fatigue or looking away)
- In one study of 100 drivers, cell phones were associated with the highest frequency of distraction-related events for crashes and near-crashes
- Another study, done with driving simulators, found that when talking on a cell phone:
- Young drivers’ response times to brake lights ahead were as slow as those by elderly drivers
- Drivers of all ages were 9% slower in hitting their brakes when needed
- Crash rates were more than FIVE times greater than for undistracted drivers. That’s an increase of over 500%!*
And, as we reported recently, the texting-while-driving violation fines just went up: That means that the fines for a first offense is $30, and the second offense is $60. You might not think that it sounds like much, but that’s not the real cost—when you get done with court costs and penalties, the actual cost is $251 and $372, respectively.
It puts points on your record, which will affect your automobile insurance rates. Worried about the cost of your car insurance? Give BMR Insurance a call—we’ll review your insurance policy and try our hardest to find you a better deal. If not, we won’t give you the hard sell! That’s just not our style. What have you got to lose? Sounds like you potentially have something to gain. Call us now! (714) 838-1911
* SOURCE: OPI.MT