The Risks of Texting while Driving

We’ve all been tempted to slip our hands off the wheel to answer the siren call of a text message. A mountain of recent evidence has shown, however, how high the cost of mixing texting and driving can be. The CDC lists car crashes as the leading cause of death for teens. Keeping that fact in mind, teen drivers should do all they can to minimize risks. That means avoiding known risks like texting.

Teens are the age group at the highest risk for texting-related accidents.  On average, teens are the most inexperienced drivers out there, and they are also the most addicted to texting. That can be a lethal combination.

The risks:

  • Want to become 23 times more likely to crash with just the flick of a finger? Text while driving. A Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study of commercial drivers revealed that texting while driving was the riskiest type of driver distraction, making drivers 23 times more likely of getting into a “safety-critical event.” (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute 2009)
  • If you are driving at 55 mph and take your eyes off the road for the average amount of time it takes to text, five seconds, you will have zoomed the length of a football field without looking at the road. (VTTI, 2009)
  • The CDC reports that a distracted driver was a factor in 18% of all injury-causing accidents in 2010.
  • The 2012 NHTSA study on distracted driving classified drivers as “distraction-prone” or “distraction-averse.” Fewer than half of respondents under 35 qualified as “distraction averse,” while the majority of those over 35 fit that category.
  • According to the VTTI, teens are four times as likely to get into crashes or near misses due to cell phone distractions than older drivers.

--Liz Soltan