Distracted driving has become the norm for many of us: a quick email at a red light, a glance at a text message from a friend, like on a Facebook post, a meme on Reddit. It is a truth universally acknowledged that Americans are now forever in want of their smartphones. We live our lives attached to these devices and it is now endangering our lives. We find it so harmless since we rationalize that it to be just a short glance, after all, it’s not like we’re drinking and driving, right?
Interestingly enough, the tide has dramatically changed. For many years drunk driving was the leading cause of accidents in teenage drivers. While driving under the influence is still a leading cause of accidents and is still a serious threat to highway safety, it has fallen second to distracted driving. The way we underestimate distracted driving is taking a toll, which is why these statistics are so startling:
1) The number of accidents due to distracted driving is increasing while the number of accidents due to driving under the influence has been decreasing.
2) The number of drunk driving accidents has dropped about 52% since 1982, but distracted driving accidents are on the rise.
3) The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that driving while texting is approximately six times more dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol.
3) The time it takes to send and read messages while driving is approximately 4.6 seconds or the length of a football field at 55 mph.
4) Texting while driving causes more than 3,000 fatalities and more than 330,000 injuries annually.