While texting and driving is a known issue in today’s world, the fact of the matter remains that it causes many vehicular accidents on a yearly basis. However, not all of these issues are technically classified as “accidents” as many of them are preventable. Below, we dive further into the dangers of texting and driving as well as further explaining the differences between what an accident is and what constitutes a preventable crash concerning texting and driving.
Accidents vs. Crashes
Before we discuss the different types of dangers that texting behind the wheel prompts, it’s important to understand the differences between accidents and crashes.
It may come as a surprise to some that texting and driving incidents should not be labeled as an “accident”, but rather as a crash. This is because, as cited by The Washington Post, these crashes are caused by decisions made directly by the driver. If a driver does not make the decision to be distracted by their smartphone, the odds are that many of these crashes could be completely avoided. The importance of understanding this difference revolves around the fact that failing to do so fails to put the blame where it belongs in these incidents: on the shoulders of the driver.
The Types of Crashes Texting & Driving Cause
Not all texting and driving incidents are created equal. While some may cause those involved to pay the ultimate price, others are less serious. However, that doesn’t mean that this isn’t a serious problems. We’re diving into all of these crashes, regardless of where they fall among the spectrum.
On average, someone who’s texting while driving takes their eyes off the road for a minimum of five seconds. While that may not sound like a long time, it’s actually more than enough time for an incident to occur. In fact, those few seconds really add up over time: texting while driving results in 400 percent more time with a driver’s eyes off the road. While a motorist has their eyes on their phone, it’s just enough time to unintentionally rear-end the car in front of them. This can also be attributed to the fact that texting while driving slows brake and reaction speed by 18 percent, which makes a driver significantly less able to avoid a sudden obstacle or to stop before hitting the car in front of them.
Another type of crash commonly prompted by texting and driving involves the inability to drive in a straight line. When you think about it, it’s no surprise that looking down at a smartphone and taking one’s eyes off the road has this effect. In fact, studies show that teenagers who text while driving spend an average of 10 percent of their time driving outside of their desired lane.
This makes them a danger to both themselves and those driving and those in surrounding lanes. That leads to the citation of a, “Failure to Keep in Proper Lane” to be listed as the cause of a crash, where someone distracted by their smartphone ends up sideswiping another car. The decreased ability to drive in a straight line also prompts the concern for drivers unintentionally veering off the road and the possibility of them hitting a pedestrian.
Sadly, 11 teens die each day due to texting and driving related crashes and over 330,000 of these are caused by texting while driving lead to severe injuries on an annual basis. While many of those who text and drive commonly think “that wouldn’t happen to me”, it’s all too much of a possibility to risk. The statistics are astounding, and the real-life stories of those affected by this phenomenon in the worst imaginable way truly personify the issue.
For instance, take the story of Brock Dietrich, a father who now works to spread the word at high schools about the dangers of texting and driving. This was inspired by the death of his daughter, who died at the age of 17. She was involved in a fatal crash in Ohio, caused by the fact that she was texting and driving and made worse by the fact that she was not wearing a seatbelt.
Another heartbreaking story revolves around the untimely death of a father and his 10-year-old daughter. In 2015, 17-year-old Carly R. Bolling ignored her friends’ pleas to stop texting and driving. Not long after, the unlicensed teen was distracted by her smartphone and inadvertently ran a red light. She crashed into the car holding the father and daughter, who were both killed. As a result, the teen was charged with two counts each of criminal vehicular homicide and criminal vehicular operation, texting and driving, and driving without a valid license.
While all of these incidents are scary, problematic, and downright dangerous, it’s important to remember that they’re also all preventable. Texting and driving is a choice, and it’s one that parents can help their teens to completely avoid with the use of technology. Take the possibility of texting while behind the wheel away from your teen by enrolling in Focus by TeenDrive. This allows parents to block apps and messages whenever a teen’s car is in motion and also provides further insight and ability to keep them safe behind the wheel. Protect your teen from the dangers of texting and driving and instill safe driving habits in them to ensure that they do not play into these frightening statistics and stories.