Texting behind the wheel can double the time it takes a driver to react, increasing their odds of crashing, according to new research from the Texas Transportation Institute. These statistics give the public a new understanding of how much the effects mobile phones can have on a driver’s safety.
State officials have said that 9 percent of American drivers have admitted to texting or emailing either “regularly” or “fairly often” while driving and those who are distracted by cell phones are involved in thousands of accidents yearly.
Texting while driving is illegal in most states, which means that anyone found guilty of the crime can face fines and penalties. Not only can you get into trouble by committing this act but you are also adding to the risk of causing an accident that could hurt or kill yourself or others. If a driver is in an accident while texting they may find it difficult to qualify for the lowest rates from car insurance companies.
The Texas Transportation Institute also found in a study that subjects who attempted to send or read a text message while driving were twice as slow to react to hazards and far more likely to swerve out of their lane.
As mobile devices become an increasingly large part of people lives, drivers seem to believe that the laws banning texting while driving do not apply to them, and those drivers are “accidents waiting to happen” according to safety experts.
Federal officials say that 34 states and the District of Columbia have put a ban on texting while driving, while 9 states and the nation’s capital have completely forbidden all hand-held cell phone use for drivers.
In 2009 about 5,500 people were killed on U.S. roads alone, another 448,000 on roads nationwide were involved in car accidents due to texting and other forms of distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
They also reported that cell phone use was an important factor in 18% of distracted driving crash deaths. Also, drivers who use hand held cell phones are 4 times as likely to get into injury crashes than those who don’t.