Nowadays, texting while driving is one of the most common issues drivers face on the road. From teenagers who are behind the wheel for the first time to commercial drivers, businesspeople, and practically everyone who sits on the driver seat, they all can’t seem to leave their phones inside their pockets. Despite the fact that there are several campaigns specifically designed to raise awareness on the issue, texting while driving seems to be a problem that will never disappear.
According to the United States Department of Transportation, cellphones are involved in 1.6 million accidents caused by drivers who were texting while driving. Even when one might think that rookie teenage drivers might be the cause, a survey conducted by AT&T showed that 49% of adult American drivers admitted to texting while driving. Also, 90% of drivers surveyed admitted to doing so while being aware of just how dangerous texting while driving is.
One of the main reasons why texting while driving is because it causes drivers to ignore the road. We might think that only a few seconds can’t really result in a serious hazard, but we couldn’t be more wrong. On average, sending or receiving texts causes drivers to take their eyes off the road for five seconds. As it doesn’t sound like a really long period, so in order to add a bit of perspective, picture this. It only takes 5 seconds to drive a distance equal to the length of a football field going at a speed of 55 mph.
As if this wasn’t enough reason to discourage us from texting while driving, we should remember that this represents the three types of distraction we can have behind the wheel. The different types of distracted driving include manual distractions, cognitive distractions, and visual distractions. This means that when we text while we are driving, we are visually distracted, as we take our attention off the road, we are cognitively distracted, as we are thinking about the conversation, and we are manually distracted, too, since we are holding the wheel with only one hand. The combination of the three results in one of the most dangerous actions we can take when driving.
Last but not least, we need to remember that texting while driving is not only dangerous, but it can be fatal, too. Being desensitized by all the campaigns out there is one thing, but simply deciding to ignore the fact that, every year, 11 teenagers alone die as a result of texting while driving in the United States, a number that goes up 3,000 teens and young drivers who lose their lives around the world. Therefore, it is our responsibility as drivers to keep our phones in our pockets when we drive, and to remember that those few seconds of distraction can be all it takes to take an innocent life.