Texting is the most alarming distraction because it involves manual, visual, and cognitive distraction simultaneously. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 90 Km/h, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field, blindfolded. It’s extraordinarily dangerous.
Some people still don’t know how dangerous distracted driving is. Others know about the risks of texting and talking while driving, but still choose to do so anyway. They make the mistake of thinking the statistics don’t apply to them, that they can defy the odds.
Our youngest and most inexperienced drivers are most at risk, with 16% of all distracted driving crashes involving drivers under 20. But they are not alone. At any given moment during daylight hours, over 100,000 vehicles are being driven by someone using a hand-held cell phone on the Lebanese roads. Just look around you while going to work in the morning or coming back home in the evening.
Now for some statistics:
• 23% of auto collisions involved cell phones. In the US that’s 1.3 million crashes. Do the math for Lebanon.
• 5 seconds is the minimal amount of time your attention is taken away from the road when you’re texting and driving. If you’re travelling at 80Km/h, this equals driving the length of a football field without looking at the road.
• Text messaging makes a crash up to 23 times more likely.
• Dialing is 2.8 times more risk.
• Talking or listening is 1.3 times more risk.
• Reaching for your mobile phone is 1.4 times more risk.
• 13% of drivers aged between 18-20 involved in car accidents admitted to texting or talking on their mobile phones at the time of the accident.
• 34% say they have texted while driving.
• 52% say they have talked on a cell phone while driving.
Some don’t think it’s even a problem.
• 77% of young adults are very or somewhat confident that they can safely text while driving.
• 55% of young adult drivers claim it’s easy to text while they drive.
• Teens who text while driving spend approximately 10% of their driving time outside of their lanes.
• Not to mention 1 out of 5 drivers of all ages confess to surfing the web while driving.
And how do they justify it?
• Reading a text is safer than composing and sending one. Wrong!!!
• They hold the phone near the windshield for “better visibility”. Wrong!!!
• They increase “following distance” with the car in front of them. Wrong!!!
• They text only at a red light. Wrong!!!
Final advice: Please once you start your vehicle and hit the road, stop your texting.
Otherwise, once you cause an accident because you were paying attention to that little screen instead of the big-picture responsibility of watching the road, the consequences could be far more painful than any legal punishment.