A Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll that was taken over a five-day span in November 2011 has provided some startling statistics that should make every driver take notice. More than 2,800 respondents were included in the survey. Men should especially take notice as males are more likely to drive after drinking or while drowsy as well as while using a GPS, the Internet or reading a map.
Perhaps most alarming is that a significant number of respondents knew the dangers of these activities but still engaged in them. Seventy-seven percent believed that texting while driving increases the chances of being in a car accident “a lot.” A total of 500,000 injuries and 6,000 deaths are caused by distracted driving every year.
2011 Distracted Driving Statistics
The abundance of drive-thru restaurants in the United States has allowed drivers to easily pick up dinner and eat it while on the go. Unfortunately, doing so is a form of distracted driving that many Americans engage in. Eighty-six percent reported eating or drinking while driving at some point in the past. Fifty-seven percent do so “sometimes” or “often.”
About two-fifths of drivers have set or changed a GPS, sent or received text messages or read a map while driving. At least 10 percent have done these activities on a regular basis. About 20 percent have combed or styled his or her hair while in the act of driving, and 14 percent have applied makeup while behind the wheel. Thirteen percent have surfed the Internet while driving.
Texting While Driving Statistics
Sending or receiving a text message is one of the most distracting things that a person can do while driving. Answering a text takes the driver’s focus away from the road for about five seconds. This means that the driver will have driven about 100 yards, the length of a football field, before returning his or her eyes to the road.
Teenagers who are texting spend about 10 percent of their time outside of their driving line. A young driver who talks on a cell phone will have reaction times similar to that of an average 70-year-old driver.
Teen Driver Cell Phone and Text Messaging Statistics
About 60 percent of teenagers admit to having engaged in risky driving, and about 30 percent have engaged in text messaging while in the act of driving. Twenty-one percent of fatal car crashes in which teenagers were involved were related to the teenage driver using his or her cell phone. Almost half of drivers aged 18-24 are regularly texting while driving. In 2007, about 1,000 distracted drivers aged 16 or 17 were involved in crashes.
Legality of Texting While Driving
Each state is able to set their own laws around texting while driving. In both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, it is currently illegal.
Pennsylvania Cell Phone Car Crash Stats
It is important to look at statistics from the state of Pennsylvania as there are no laws in the Quaker State that make it illegal to use a cell phone for talking or texting while driving.
In 2008, there were 1,298 accidents that were related to cell phone use. Nine of those resulted in death. From 2003-06, car accidents caused by cell phone use resulted in 50 deaths. From 2003-05, accidents in western Pennsylvania that involved a driver using a cell phone rose 36 percent, from 168 to 228.
A normal driver who is not distracted fails to notice an important road event just 3 percent of the time. An adult who is dialing on a cell phone while driving misses that event 13 percent of the time, and a teenager engaging in the same activity misses the important road event 53 percent of the time.
It is clear that drivers young and old who are distracted while driving are proving to be a needless danger to themselves and to others. These distractions have increasingly been related to cell phone use, but the numbers of drivers engaging in activities such as eating or grooming themselves while driving are significant enough to cause serious concern.