Since California outlawed texting and driving in 2008, the rate of texting while driving has almost doubled. This increase, despite the ban, can be attributed to the overall increase in texting and the ability to easily conceal the practice while driving. Studies reflect that drivers using hand-held devices are four times as likely to get seriously injured in crashes. This rate increases with younger less experienced drivers. Studies have shown that texting while driving can delay a driver’s reaction time just as seriously as a legally drunk driver. Also, “hands-free” cell phones do not eliminate cognitive distraction and that cognitively distracted drivers can miss up to 50 percent of their driving environment.
Approximately 600,000 drivers are using cell phones or electronic devices at any given daylight moment in the United States. 171.3 billion text messages were sent in the United States every month as of December 2012. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics reflect that distracted drivers caused 10 percent of injury crashes in 2011. 11 percent of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted at the time. For drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes, 21 percent of the distracted drivers were distracted by the use of cell phones.
Texting takes a driver’s hands off the wheel, eyes off the road and attention off driving. We need to raise awareness of the dangers associated with distracted driving and encourage drivers to not talk on cell phones or text while driving.