The use of cell phones while driving has become a clear and present danger. When 40 percent of the population claims to have been hit or almost hit by someone texting, when driver inattention is the number one cause of fatal car accidents, and cell phone use while driving is known to have been the reason for at least 2,600 deaths and 330,000 injuries in the United States a year; when the NHTSA estimates that your chance of getting in an accident increases by 300 percent If you’re talking on your phone while driving, and when 1 million drivers are using their cell phones at any given moment in the US; when we realize all of this and still fail to pay attention, that’s when we become victims.
After several years and mounting evidence, however, it appears that legislators are beginning to get the picture. In 2010, bills regarding the matter have emerged in at least 30 states, some taking more stringent tones than others. While some states, such as Texas, which only disallows texting while in a school zone, have been slow to outlaw texting altogether, city ordinances have been stepping up. Cities such as Austin, El Paso, and Galveston have made texting behind the wheel due cause for ticketing.
Legislation has been galvanized by people who’ve lost loved ones to distracted drivers and by a cavalcade of evidence showing the inherent dangers of the practice. Below are some statistics and studies that should help to illuminate the problem. Hopefully, statistics such as these will give impetus to the charge to tackle the issue.
Cell Phones and Driving Statistics
- According to a June 2009 study by the University of Utah, people talking on handheld or hands-free cell phones are as impaired as drivers who are driving over the legal blood-alcohol limit of .08 percent
- Nationwide Insurance surveyed a representative sample of 1004 individuals over the age of 18 and found the following claims about cell phone usage while driving: 21 percent of those surveyed text, 18 percent check email, 10 percent send email, 8 percent search the Internet, 6 percent use Facebook, and 2 percent watch videos.
- The same survey found that 4 in 10 people claim to have been hit or nearly hit as a result of someone using their cell phones while driving
- According to the Nationwide survey, 8 in 10 drivers support some type of restriction on cell phone usage while driving