Texting while driving can be incredibly tempting. It seems like just a few quickly-typed letters won’t cause any problems at all. But think again; distracted driving can be incredibly dangerous, and is connected to as many as 10% of all fatal car accidents.
A Common Problem
Distracted driving is a shockingly common practice within society today, despite the dangers it presents. At any given daylight moment across America, an estimated 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or other electronics while driving. This is largely due to the perceived short-term nature of phone use while driving. Checking a text on your phone only takes a few short moments, and most people assume that nothing can happen when quickly reading an update on their phone.
However, this sort of thinking can be incredibly dangerous when combined with the high speeds that most distracted driving takes place during. At 55mph, a speed slower than the speed limit of many highways in the U.S., taking five seconds to check a text can be the equivalent of driving the entire length of a football field with your eyes closed. People often fail to realize that at such high speeds, taking your eyes off the road for even a moment can be a dangerous, if not fatal, mistake.
Dangerous, Deadly, and Sometimes Legal
Despite the riskiness of distracted driving, many states still allow some degree of phone usage while driving. Texting while driving is still allowed in three states, but all except for fifteen states allow handheld phone use while driving. There is still no federal law in place regarding texting while driving.
Instead, distracted driving is often left as a trivial issue. Several campaigns do exist to reduce distracted driving in teens and young adults, who tend to drive distracted more frequently than older generations. However, these campaigns have seen limited results at best. For now, state legislation and general prevention will have to do for limiting distracted driving, but it remains to be seen the long-term impact that these efforts will have on reducing this dangerous behavior.