Category Archives: Statistics

Recently Published Report by PEW Internet

“Teens and Distracted Driving”

Overview

One in four (26%) of American teens of driving age say they have texted while driving, and half (48%) of all teens ages 12 to 17 say they’ve been a passenger while a driver has texted behind the wheel.

These findings form the centerpiece of a new report from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project that looks at teens, mobile phones and distracted driving. The report is based on a telephone survey of 800 teens ages 12-17 and a parent or guardian as well as 9 focus groups with middle and high school students.

AAA Campaign Aims to Pass Texting While Driving Bans in All 50 States by 2013

WASHINGTON, Sept. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — AAA and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety are launching new legislative and communications campaigns to reduce distracted driving and improve safety on our roadways. AAA today announced that the motor club will work to pass laws banning text messaging by drivers in all 50 states by 2013, citing strong public support for the laws, the danger of distracted driving, and new research by the Automobile Club of Southern California showing the impact of California’s texting ban. AAA will join the Foundation to call on motorists to drive distraction-free for the week of October 5 – 11 as part of its inaugural Heads Up Driving Week: Try it for a week, do it for life.

“The new technologies that help us multitask in our everyday lives and increasingly popular social media sites present a hard-to-resist challenge to the typically safe driver,” said AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet. “Enacting texting bans for drivers in all 50 states can halt the spread of this dangerous practice among motorists nationwide, and is a key legislative priority for AAA in state capitols.”

Currently, 18 states and the District of Columbia have laws that address text messaging by all drivers. Two more states have laws that prohibit teens or other new drivers from texting while driving. Laws differ across the states and some have significant shortcomings, according to AAA.

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TxtResponsibly.org to attend the Distracted Driving Summit in Washington, DC.

TxtResponsibly.org has received and accepted an invitation to attend the Distracted Driving Summit in Washington, DC. on behalf of the U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. The Distracted Driving Summit will be convened by the Department of Transportation on September 30 – October 1, 2009 and will provide an opportunity for expert speakers from around the nation to lead interactive sessions on key topics including the extent and impact of the distracted driving problem, current research, regulations, technology implications, and best practices in enforcement and public outreach. More on Press Release.

Rethinking texting while driving

texting while driving is not unique in the dangers it poses to drivers. According to a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study, the “key to significantly improving safety is keeping your eyes on the road.” Naturally, texting while driving often leads to people taking their eyes off of the road, but so do many other activities that we generally don’t think ought to be illegal outright, such as adjusting a stereo or manipulating an iPod.

The Car and Driver study tested the reaction times of texting drivers by measuring how quickly the subjects hit the brakes when a red light turned on. The test was conducted at 35 and 70 miles per hour while the subjects read and typed quotes from the film “Caddy Shack.”

Condemning texting while driving as a whole, based on a study like Car and Driver’s, is dangerous because it tested only the worst of the practice. Common sense and the VTTI study indicate that receiving a message like, “please get milk” and responding “k” is almost certainly far less dangerous than reading and typing quotes from a movie, as the former case requires one to take their eyes off the road for a much briefer period than the latter.

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Texting drivers still not getting the message

St. Paul, Minn. — It’s been a little more than a year since Minnesota banned texting while driving, It’s obvious many drivers haven’t received that message — or they’re ignoring it. But safety officials vow they’ll be increasingly backing up the law with education and enforcement.

“I like to feel I can multitask,” said Kristine Brewitz of Stillwater, who figures she can text message while driving, as long as there’s no traffic and the road ahead is clear. “There are times when I feel I put myself at greater risk,” she said. “But I do feel I still watch the road and look for signs and stuff. There have been a few times where I’ve been a little bit scared. I’ve never been in an accident, knock on wood.”

A Harris Interactive poll last month found about two-thirds of Americans favor restrictions on cell phone use in cars. But an even bigger majority, 80 percent, support an outright ban on text messaging while driving. The group that represents the highway safety offices of all 50 states is calling for a nationwide prohibition, too. Insurance companies are paying more attention to the issue. One study found texters are up to 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident.

Nationwide Insurance expects to offer discounts for drivers who adopt technology that blocks text messages to them while they’re in a moving vehicle. Devices and services that shut down mobile texting are expected to hit the market soon.

Read the full article here.

Utah Punishes Texting While Driving with Prison Sentence

Utah’s law forbidding texting while driving went into effect July 1, 2009, and the punishment for violating the law is the harshest in the country – up to 15 years in prison for offenders. Utah has taken the stance that all drivers are now educated enough about the dangers of texting while driving to classify any such behavior as reckless or negligent driving:

“It’s a willful act,” said Lyle Hillyard, a Republican state senator and a big supporter of the new measure. “If you choose to drink and drive or if you choose to text and drive, you’re assuming the same risk.”

The law and it’s severity are believed to have been so well supported because of an accident that occurred three years ago, and resulted in the deaths of 2 scientists:

Reggie Shaw, a 19-year-old college student working as a house painter, was driving west to work in a Chevrolet Tahoe S.U.V. Approaching him, in a Saturn sedan, was James Furaro, 38, and his passenger, Keith P. O’Dell, 50. The senior scientists were commuting to ATK Launch Systems, where they were helping to design and build rocket boosters.

Mr. Shaw crossed the yellow dividing line on the two-lane road and clipped the Saturn. It spun across the highway and was struck by a pickup truck hauling a trailer filled with two tons of horseshoes and related equipment.

The two scientists were killed instantly.

…a witness told the police he had seen Mr. Shaw swerving several times just before the accident, raising Mr. Rindlisbacher’s suspicions. The trooper’s concerns grew as he drove Mr. Shaw to the hospital. He saw Mr. Shaw, in the passenger seat, pull out his phone and start texting.“Were you texting while you were driving?” Mr. Rindlisbacher recalled asking.

“No,” he recalled Mr. Shaw responding. (Mr. Shaw said he did not remember the conversation or much about the accident.)

The trooper was deeply skeptical. He figured out how to subpoena Mr. Shaw’s phone records. Six months later, with help from a state public safety investigator, they got the records and their proof: Mr. Shaw and his girlfriend had sent 11 text messages to each other in the 30 minutes before the crash, the last one at 6:47 a.m., a minute before Mr. Shaw called 911. Investigators concluded he sent that last text when he crossed the yellow line.

Read the full article here.

Adult Driver Cell Phone, Texting, and Car Accident Information

Avoid Texting While Driving

Avoid Texting While Driving

  • Talking on a cell phone causes nearly 25% of car accidents.
  • One-fifth of experienced adult drivers in the United States send text messages while driving.
  • A study of dangerous driver behavior released in January 2007 by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. found that of 1,200 surveyed drivers, 73 percent talk on cell phones while driving.
  • The same 2007 survey found that 19 percent of motorists say they text message while driving.
  • In 2005, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that ten percent of drivers are on handheld or hands free cell phones at any given hour of the day.
  • A study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Motorists found that motorists who use cell phones while driving are four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.
  • In 2002, the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis calculated that 2,600 people die each year as a result of using cellphones while driving. They estimated that another 330,000 are injured.

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Teen Driver Cell Phone and Text Messaging Statistics

  • Despite the risks, the majority of teen drivers ignore cell phone driving restrictions.
  • In 2007, driver distractions, such as using a cell phone or text messaging, contributed to nearly 1,000 crashes involving 16- and 17-year-old drivers.
  • Over 60 percent of American teens admit to risky driving, and nearly half of those that admit to risky driving also admit to text messaging behind the wheel.
  • Each year, 21% of fatal car crashes involving teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 were the result of cell phone usage. This result has been expected to grow as much as 4% every year.
  • Almost 50% of all drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 are texting while driving.
  • Over one-third of all young drivers, ages 24 and under, are texting on the road.
  • Teens say that texting is their number one driver distraction.

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Texting and Driving Don’t Mix

Va. Tech Analyzes Link Between Messaging, Truck Crashes

According to an analysis by Virginia Tech’s Transportation Institute, texting truckers are 23 times as likely as their non-texting counterparts to be involved in a crash or a near miss. Researchers analyzed commercial trucking data from 2004 to 2007 that involved 203 truckers and 3 million miles of driving.

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Officials suggest bans won’t stop at texting

A new article in the Concord Monitor discusses official concerns that new laws won’t stop drivers from texting – but perhaps the dramatic statistics will:

Cell phone use is a factor in an estimated 342,000 auto accident injuries and costs $43 billion each year in property damage, lost wages, medical bills and loss of life

Read the full article here.