Texting and driving is all too familiar to most of us. We all do it or have done it before. But do you realize just how dangerous it can be? According to an initiative of Parkview Trauma Centers in Fort Wayne, texting and driving puts you at a 23% higher chance of getting involved in an auto crash. Most crashes happen within an average of 3 seconds after being distracted while at the wheel. It seems pretty plain that texting while driving is a little more dangerous than any of us would have thought. The United States Department of Transportation tells us that cell phones are involved in over 1.6 million car crashes each year. Out of that number, half a million injuries and 6,000 deaths result. Most auto crashes are the result of driver distraction, and 11% of those distractions are caused by cell phones. A study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute states that texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than driving while intoxicated. Yes, this means that texting and driving is a lot more dangerous than drinking and driving. That’s a surprising figure, I know, but it certainly gives you something to think about.
With so many crashes resulting from cell phone usage, it is no wonder Indiana finally took action. Three years ago in July 2011, the Indiana legislature created a law banning texting while driving. Of course, it’s hard to tell whether a driver is actually in the act of texting, or if they are doing something else on their cell phones. Because of this, Indiana State Police have only written a small amount of tickets under the new law. There have been reports of a decreasing link between cell phone usage and car crashes, however. I guess the fear of a ticket really works!
Just…Don’t Do It
With the new law in place, there still seems to be a small amount of action being taken against texting and driving. It is understandably hard to prove and detect actual texting and driving. So, do yourself a favor and think about how you use technology in your vehicle. Sure, we’re all a little more urgent these days. Sure, we all have things we need to keep up with. But your safety comes first. Checking a text message or answering a call can wait until you have safely arrived at your destination. If you feel it is imperative for you to respond, find a place to pull over and park.
As members of the automotive industry in Indiana, we at IndyAutoBlog.com value each and every one of you. We want to see you driving, servicing your vehicles, shopping for cars, and at the Speedway. We don’t want to find out that you or someone close to us has been in an auto accident, especially one as preventable as those caused by texting and driving.
I think it’s easy for us to consider texting while driving as a simple action that doesn’t really affect driving. It’s just a text message, right? But I think we should all realize the value of setting the phone aside when we take a seat in our cars. Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. The text message can wait.