In 2010, around 45% of all car crashes involved some form of distracted driving. Mostly that meant talking, texting, or generally using a digital device. An entire decade later, smartphones are more extensively used by everyone, and car injuries have soared to unprecedented values.
According to the CDC, more than half a million injuries were caused by distracted driving in 2019. Sadly, more than 3000 of these accidents involved a loss of life.
A particularly alarming figure is this: a poll showed that 100% of the people in a large sample knew that using the phone while driving is so wrong. Yet, 50% of them reported doing that all the time!
If the previous argument hasn’t convinced you to focus solely on the road, here are seven reasons why texting and driving is dangerous.
Serious Reasons Why Texting and Driving Is Dangerous
Most people treat smartphones as a natural extension of their hands. Thus, the fact that people text and read messages while driving is no longer an odd event. Pedestrians, bikers, and motorists of all kinds do the same as well.
This complacency multiplies the risks on the road by many orders of magnitude. The following are some of the main reasons why this behavior needs to stop.
- Loss of Life
- Mass Harm
- Legal Issues
- Insurance Issues
- It can wait!
- You’re not that skilled
- It shouldn’t be normalized
Read on to see these explanations in more detail.
1. Loss of Life Is the Biggest Reason
Each year, thousands of people lose their lives in such accidents. Either because the person driving a car crashes hard into something, or hits an innocent person while sending a message. Both situations are tragic.
As a matter of fact, texting while driving is 6 times worse than driving under the influence of alcohol. This is because a driver’s reactions are delayed severely while reading and responding to a message. In addition, the person leaves the steering wheel to press the buttons and takes his eye off the road to focus on the screen.
This increases the probability that a person would lose control of the vehicle to astronomical levels. Conservative estimates report that almost 10% of all fatalities in the US are caused by distracted driving. Understandably, there is a considerable amount of underreporting here.
Teens and young adults from 16-24 years of age are more associated with these incidents than any other age group.
2. Just Do No Harm: To Humans, Animals, Trees, or Things!
Animals could cross roads suddenly at all times, and usually, a vigilant driver would know how to stop or dodge them. However, a person who’s fully immersed in texting wouldn’t notice the deer, dog, or cat.
Additionally, damaging other people’s or public property isn’t cool. So even if you’re ready to accept the necessary fines or pay for any repairs, this wouldn’t absolve you from the fact that you caused harm.
3. The Law Penalizes Distracted Drivers
Fatal accidents where the driver is proven to be texting while driving often ends in a prison sentence. In some cases, this could be up to 10 years.
There are other accidents that involve injuries and damaged properties. And these are subject to legal oversight as well. The driving license could also get some strikes, and eventually, the person insisting on repeating this offense would be banned from driving.
If you are interested in learning more about the laws or fines, check out this full article on texting and driving Illegality.
4. Insurance Companies Also Penalize Distracted Drivers
Law enforcement isn’t the only interested body when it comes to accidents. Insurance companies are automatically called to the scene whenever such incidents happen.
Naturally, careless drivers get much less insurance coverage than vigilant ones. Repeated incidents might end up in these drivers getting outright rejected.
5. Nothing is That Urgent!
It’s hard to imagine that each one of the millions of drivers who text while driving is actually responding to an emergency.
More often than not, drivers respond to jokes, date confirmations, group updates, or gossip. None of which is a matter of life or death to the point that warrants an immediate reply.
Part of the matter is the complacency that comes with repeating a certain risky activity many times without serious consequences. There’s a false sense of security drivers often have that makes them feel invincible.
These things always “happen to someone else”, don’t they? The answer is no. They can happen to absolutely anyone. And if a message is that urgent, it’s best to just pull over by the roadside and respond.
6. You’re Not That Skilled. No one Is!
Texting while driving is a lot like being blindfolded, with one hand tied to your side. It’s beyond impossible to fully focus on the road and simultaneously type a text. Reading, responding, then waiting for a reply takes the driver far away from reality.
That’s why 21 states banned using any handheld digital device, and many would follow suit. It’s worth noting though, that even Bluetooth or hands-free devices are still quite distracting. However, that’s more mental than physical or visual.
7. Bad Behavior Shouldn’t Be Normalized
People imitate each other’s behavior, especially when they see that more than one person is getting away with it.
Children and teens are particularly prone to following the lead of adults. And we all know how attached they are to their digital devices. So the odds are that when they grow up, they would undoubtedly text while driving.
Setting a good example is necessary. In fact, this is the only way to perpetuate safer and better practices. Influencers, parents, and officials are particularly effective in reinforcing these rules. Then again, the collective effect of individual actions adds up to huge outcomes.
Distracted driving can take many forms. Drivers could be physically distracted, visually distracted, or mentally distracted. If a person texts while driving, he’s actually committing the three types of distraction all at once.
There are dire consequences to these acts of recklessness, the worst of which is loss of life. Injuries, damaged property, and legal action are also bad outcomes that no one wants. Thus, it’s best to see why texting and driving is dangerous, then focus solely on the road ahead.