Driving and Texting: The Dangers

Driving and Texting

At Lewisville VW, we’re advocates for our customers’ safety. The dangers of drinking and driving are well documented, but did you know it can actually be more dangerous to text while driving? Here’s the rundown on the frightening facts about “distracted driving.”

“Distracted Driving”

driving and texting“Distracted driving” happens when you undertake any activity while driving that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off of driving. Far and away the most common distracted driving activity (besides eating or drinking) is the use of a cell phone or PDA, usually to text. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 20 percent of injury-producing crashes in 2009 involved distracted driving. That year, 5,494 people died on our roads as a result of distracted drivers and an additional 448,000 were injured. Eighteen percent of fatalities in those crashes were linked directly to cell phone distractions.

Increasing Popularity

Though the stats aren’t in for 2010 or 2011, those numbers most likely have increased. According to Mobile Thinking, the sale of mobile devices went up in 2010, with “smartphones showing the strongest growth.” Half a billion people accessed the web via their phones in 2009 and that number is expected to jump over the next five years, until mobile technologies are more popular than PCs when it comes to Internet access. According to Portio Research, over 8 million text messages will be sent in 2011. As helpful as these new technologies are, they’ve exponentially increased the odds of distracted driving.

Would You Drive Drunk?

Back in 2009, the folks at Car and Driver magazine conducted a simple experiment based on two case studies. The results were telling enough to be picked up by NBC News. Using a closed course, they measured the reaction time of two test subjects – one 22 years old and the other 37 years old – using a red light mounted on the windshield to simulate brake lights. They tested each subject while driving undistracted, then again while checking email, and yet again after drinking enough vodka-and-orange-juice screwdrivers to test at the legal limit for intoxication.

The frightening results: Car and Driver writer Eddie Alterman (one of the valiant test subjects) took .54 seconds to brake the car while unimpaired. Intoxication added 4 feet before he braked. By comparison, reading (text or email) added 36 feet and actively texting added a horrifying 70 feet before Eddie responded to the brake light. Folks, it’s frighteningly simple: using any device to text while driving is not something to be trifled with. Keep yourself, your family, and your fellow drivers safe on the roads.

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