There are many dangers of texting, and no one is exempt from cell phones taking their attention away from the road. Texting and driving is defined as reading, composing, and sending text messages while operating a vehicle. Texting while driving also involves checking emails and using the internet on a smartphone device. It also includes checking social media or spending time looking at different websites on the internet. It is often fatal for teens due to their lack of experience driving.
Texting and driving is known as the most alarming distraction and is extremely prevalent among drivers. It takes away the driver's attention on the road, significantly increasing the risk of accidents. The average person takes their eyes off the road for five seconds while sending a text message, which is enough time for a crash to occur.
When the car is moving at least 55 mph, that's like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed. Driving while texting increases the risk of an accident by 24 times. Many people are also surprised to learn that texting while driving is six times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated. Talking on the phone while driving also increases the risk of a collision by four times.
How Many People Die From Texting and Driving?
Approximately one in every four car accidents is due to texting and driving, resulting in an average of 390,000 injuries as more people use their phone while driving. In 2018, 2,841 people were killed due to talking or texting. In 2019, this number increased to 3,142 people. Today, an average of 3,000 to 4,000 people die every year due to talking or texting.
42 percent of teen drivers have admitted to using their phone while operating a motor vehicle. An average of 400,000 people are injured in crashes every year. 1,000 people are injured every day in a crash related to emailing while driving or using devices while driving.
Is Texting and Driving Illegal?
Yes, in most states in the U.S., texting and driving is illegal and can lead to getting traffic violations. 47 states currently have laws banning texting and driving, including California. Some cities even ban all types of cell phone use while driving. There is currently not a national ban on texting while operating a car, but more states are still taking action.
Driving while distracted laws are becoming more common with catch-all distracted driving laws in place. Drivers are often cited for activities that include reading a book, applying makeup, and anything that takes their eyes off the road.
The laws can even be more restrictive for younger drivers for those who are under the age of 18. This can lead to extensive penalties and consequences like getting their license suspended.
School bus drivers are also banned from using cell phones while operating buses and transporting children. They can get traffic violations even if they're using their cell phones in the hands-free mode. This can result in losing their school bus certification or going to jail. Some states even impose criminal penalties with jail time for those who violate the law.
Commercial drivers can also lose their license if they choose to text and drive, which is a serious violation in most states. If they have multiple violations within a 12-month timeframe, their commercial license will likely be revoked.
How Much is a Ticket for Texting and Driving?
In most states, texting and driving is a misdemeanor, resulting in fines of $25 to $99 in states like Texas. Those who have more than one traffic ticket due to texting and driving can pay up to $200 if it's a repeat offense. Some states, like Iowa, require paying a fine of $30.
The most expensive states for getting a ticket for texting while behind the wheel are New York, Vermont, Missouri, and Nebraska with maximum fines of up to $200. Minnesota also has fines up to $225. New Jersey and Maine also charge up to $400.
California has fines of $150 for distracted driving. Washington requires paying a penalty of $136 if it's a first-time offense. Ohio, Georgia, and Arizona have a maximum fine of $150.
Texting and driving can constitute as reckless driving if it causes other people to be killed.
How Many Accidents Are Caused by Texting and Driving?
According to the National Safety Council, 1.6 crashes occur every year due to cell phone use. One of every four accidents in the U.S. is the result of distracted driving. Approximately 390,000 injures are the results of the activity.
There's also been an increase in pedestrian killed from 2007 to 2017 by 27 percent. Not only are more drivers using their phones while operating a vehicle, but pedestrians also become distracted crossing intersections and cross walks with their devices in hand. 80 percent of drivers have seen pedestrians using their phones while spending time in public settings near busy roads.
Approximately 74 percent of drivers support a cell phone use ban.
How to Block Text Message While Driving
Blocking text messages from coming in on your cell phone is one of the best ways to avoid the temptation of using your phone on the road. If you use an iPhone, access the settings on your phone and scroll down before tapping activate. You can select when you don't want to receive notifications each day, especially if you spend time driving at the same time to work or school.
You can also adjust the settings to turn off notifications when the cell phone detects you’re driving. It can also turn off the texts when you connect the device to Bluetooth. It also activates with CarPlay. You can set up an auto-reply response to ensure you notify your family members and friends when you're driving.
Some calls can still come through when you adjust the settings. This will allow some people in your contacts to reach you if they attempt to call you a second or third time.
You can also store electronic devices in the backseat or in a spot that's hard to reach while operating the car to avoid using it.