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Texting While Driving Statistics

September 2, 2021 By Flora Templeton Stuart

Photo of a distracted driver texting while drivingNo one has to sit you down and explain to you that texting behind the wheel often results in serious accidents, but you may be surprised to learn how common it is. As motorists become more and more enmeshed with their phones, far too many fail to give their phones a rest when they get behind the wheel, and the statistics support this claim.

If a texting driver leaves you or someone you love injured in a car accident, you will need an injury law firm who is experienced, local, and provides personal representation by the top car accident attorney.

The Statistics Are Alarming

According to research conducted by ValuePenguin (culled from the most current data available and updated in April of 2021), texting behind the wheel is just as dangerous as it sounds. Consider the following:

  • NHTSA data reveals that for every 100 fatal car crashes involving distracted driving from 2015 to 2019, there was an average of 109 deaths (due to multiple fatalities in single incidents).
  • Based on data obtained from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), ValuePenguin calculates that the significant decrease in miles traveled as a result of the pandemic will lead to statistics for 2020 that reflect approximately 242 fewer traffic fatalities overall – but with an additional 23 fatalities caused by distracted driving.
  • The State of Kentucky ranks second only to New Mexico for having the highest number of distracted driving deaths per 10 billion miles traveled.

CDC Defines Types of Distraction

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that there are three categories of distraction, including:

  • Distractions that engage one’s vision, such as when drivers are eyeballing their phones
  • Distractions that engage one’s hands, such as when drivers are tapping out texts
  • Distractions that engage one’s thoughts, such as when drivers are reading or composing texts

In fact, texting has the singular distinction of being the only distraction that interweaves all three categories into one dynamo of a distraction that makes fatal car accidents far more likely.

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Distracted Drivers are a Major Cause of Serious Accidents

In its latest findings, the CDC shares that in 2018 alone, more than 2,800 people lost their lives in accidents involving distracted driving. Further, about 1 in five of these victims were not in a vehicle at the time, including pedestrians and bicyclists. Another estimated 400,000 people were injured in accidents caused by distracted drivers.

Driving Blind

The CDC provides a prime example of how texting behind the wheel plays out in practical terms. Consider the following:

  • Motorists who drive at highway speeds travel about the length of a football field in five seconds.
  • It takes about five seconds to compose or read an average text.
  • When motorists text behind the wheel (at highway speeds), it amounts to driving without the benefit of sight (and with one’s thoughts and at least one hand otherwise engaged) for the length of a football field.

If this stark example does not terrify you, it should.

Texting While Driving is a Major Concern with Young Drivers

The CDC goes on to highlight the danger presented by teenage drivers, who are also – by definition – novice drivers. Consider the following recent findings:

  • Nearly 40 percent of all teenage drivers in 2019 had texted behind the wheel on at least one of the 30 previous days.
  • Texting is even more common among older high school students than it is among younger high school students.
  • Students’ grades play no role in the likelihood that they will text behind the wheel.
  • Students who text behind the wheel are also more likely not to wear seat belts, to get in a vehicle with an impaired driver, and to drive while impaired – making them some of the most dangerous drivers overall.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Weighs In

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also reports out on its most current statistics, and the numbers are telling. NHTSA shares that, although we’re going through distracting times in general, it makes staying focused behind that much more important. When a motorist’s attention is diverted by anything other than driving safely, he or she is dangerously distracted, and the deadliest distraction in a long list of dangerous distractions is texting. Consider NHTSA’s findings:

  • In 2019, there were 3,142 fatal distraction-based driving fatalities, which – it points out – is 3,142 too many.
  • A full nine percent of all fatal accidents in 2019 were caused by distracted driving.
  • More than 26,000 people lost their lives in the years from 2012 to 2019 in traffic accidents involving distracted driving.

No matter how you crunch the numbers, distracted driving – especially texting behind the wheel – is a deadly practice that puts us all at risk.

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The State of Kentucky

The Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reports that, while Kentucky has no ban on handheld devices, it does ban all smartphone usage for bus drivers and bans texting behind the wheel overall.

Staying Safe

CDC shares what you can do to help you and your loved ones stay safe out there, including:

  • Speak Up – If the person driving you is texting behind the wheel (or engaging in any kind of distraction), express your concern.
  • Give Multitasking a Pass – When you are behind the wheel, focus solely on driving safely (put your phone and every other distraction away).
  • Set a Good Example – Show your kids that you take driving safely and distraction-free seriously.

If you spot a dangerously distracted driver on the road, avoiding the vehicle on the road and alerting the authorities when it is safe to do so is the right thing to do, and it could help save a life.

Reach out to an Experienced Kentucky/Tennessee Car/Truck Accident Lawyer

If a driver who is distracted by texting causes you to be injured, you are facing challenges ahead, but the accomplished car accident attorneys at Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers – proudly serving the State of Kentucky and Tennessee – have the experience, legal skill, and insight to get you maximum recovery.

At our firm we are not only local with offices close to you in Kentucky and Tennessee, we provide personal representation with the top attorney. This is crucial in obtaining maximum recovery and we have recovered millions for our injured clients over 45 years.  If you need help call us 24/7, text us by chat today or call us at 888-782-9090.

 

Author Photo

Flora Templeton Stuart

Flora Templeton Stuart is the lead attorney and founder of the law firm Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers, established in 1976. Flora goes to work every day to make a difference in her community and the lives of her clients. When you call you will get a personal representation and an attorney who truly cares.