Distracted driving, especially texting with cell phones, is a hot button issue across the country right now.
A 2008 survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that almost 6,000 Americans died and 515,000 were injured in distracted driving-related vehicle crashes that year.
According to Distraction.gov, there are three main types of driving distractions: Visual - taking your eyes off the road; Manual - taking your hands off the wheel; and Cognitive - taking your mind off what you're doing.
Because it involves all three types, cell phone texting, is the most alarming of all driving distractions.
A 2006 study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that texting drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in a collision than non-texters. The Automobile Association of American's Foundation for Traffic Safety reports 95 percent of drivers polled acknowledge texting while driving is dangerous, but 21 percent of them had done it recently anyway.
In the moments before a crash or near crash, drivers typically spend nearly five seconds looking at their cell phones - enough time at typical highway speeds to cover more than the length of a football field. Would you close your eyes while driving for five seconds?
In a University of Utah study, students using a driving simulator showed an eight times greater crash risk when texting than when not texting. What I found to be very interesting about this study is that it also showed that just driving and talking on the phone put the drivers' distraction levels the same as driving under the influence with a blood alcohol level of .08. Texting far exceeds that level.
Though it has disturbing images, you may want to watch this video with your teen driver to show them what can happen when texting and driving.
All of us here at the JCPD encourage everyone to not text while driving.