TXTNG & DRIVNG – IT CAN WAIT. These words come emblazoned on the plastic covering most new smartphones hitting the market today. Yet not everyone heeds this important advice; far from it, a new study suggests. The number or drivers texting while behind the wheel has actually risen over the past year, despite a number of new legal measures and nationwide awareness campaigns.
New data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggests the percentage of drivers who sent a text while driving jumped from 0.6% in 2009 to 0.9% in 2010. According to the NHTSA, reading or writing texts increases the chances of an accident by 2,300 percent. That’s not a typo:Two-thousand three-hundred percent! It’s no wonder the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has proposed a nationwide ban on calling and texting while driving. In 2010 alone, more than 3,000 people died in car accidents related to calling and/or texting behind the while. One thing to note, however, is that other distractions played into some of the accidents counted in the death toll.
“Using a cell phone while driving is the equivalent of having a blood alcohol concentration level of .08%, the legal limit in most states,” the NHTSA said in a statement. “Using a cell phone can reduce the brain activity associated with driving by 37%.”
An earlier study conducted in July by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) found that up to 25% of U.S. car crashes are associated with drivers distracted by a gadget of some sort. Drivers in my neck of the woods have a hard enough driving as it is – add technology to the mix, and simply getting around town can be truly terrifying at times.
How should phones be implemented in vehicles without distracting drivers?