Tragic automobile accidents forever change the lives of those involved.
I have seen it too often in my career. For the victim, a life may be tragically cut short. For the at-fault party, they will live knowing that their negligence caused serious injuries to not just the victim, but also to the victim’s family and loves ones.
Smartphones have made these accidents all too common. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that “at any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving.” That is a scary statistic, especially when considered alongside Cambridge Mobile Telematics’ (“CMT”) recently published data suggesting that in approximately 25% of all crashes, the at-fault party was using his smartphone within a minute before the crash occurred. The CMT data showed that 50% of all crashes involved drivers distracted by their smartphone at some point during the fateful trip.
Still not convinced that you should put your smartphone back in your purse?
Consider that the CDC also estimates that, each day, 8 people are killed and 1,161 are injured in the United States in crashes involving a suspected distracted driver. As we all know, the easiest distraction in today’s world is our smartphone, through which we can text, talk, snap, tweet, gram, bank, or perform any other number of activities.
Sadly, the statistics cited above only scratch the surface of mixing smartphones and driving. So please, put down your mobile device the next time you get behind the wheel. Stay focused on the road and get home safe to your family. That unread text will be there when you get home.
And, if this has not been enough to convince you, here are additional startling statistics:
- In 2015, there were 3,477 people killed and an estimated additional 391,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
- In 2015, there were 442 fatal crashes reported to have involved cell phone use as a distraction.
- Crash risk is four times higher when a driver uses a cell phone, whether or not it’s hands-free.
- Drivers’ eyes are off the road an average of five seconds when texting. At 55 mph, that’s the equivalent of traveling the length of a football field while blindfolded.
- Cell phone use behind the wheel reduces the brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent.
- Texting makes a crash up to 23 times more likely.
- 19% of drivers of all ages admit to surfing the web while driving.
- Teens who text while driving spend 10% of the time outside their lane.5
- 10% of all drivers under age 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash.
Texting, talking or anything else while driving requires a multi-tasking ability that does not scientifically exist in the human brain. At speeds we travel, we are asking for trouble and tragic events when trying to text and drive. So, put the phone away and focus on driving safe.