We have been texting for 20 years. It is as common now as talking, being a very vital part of our everyday lives. Texting is everywhere, we text while we shop, while we eat, while we walk, and, unfortunately, while we drive. Texting has become such an integral part of our lives that it is difficult to imagine that it is dangerous in any capacity. However, not is it only dangerous to text while driving, it is down right deadly. When you choose to text and drive, you are a threat to every single driver around you. You are a threat to yourself, anyone in your car, everyone in the cars on the road with you and all property you are driving by.

The facts of texting while driving are horrifying. Once you know them, it will be impossible to ignore them. The reality is this:

● Every single day, 11 teenagers die because they were texting while driving. 42 % of teenage drivers admitted to texting while driving. This represents just those actually admitting to it. Of all the teenagers involved in fatal accidents each year, 21% were using a cell phone at the time of the accident.
● Over 2.5 million people in the United States are involved in road accidents every single year. Of these, 1.6 million involve the use of a cell phone. That is over half of all car accidents that happen have cell phones involved. If this does not make people realize just how dangerous cell phone use and texting is while driving, what will?
● Over 330,000 accidents that cause severe injuries each year are directly caused by using cell phones to specifically text. That means over 78% of all distracted drivers are distracted because they have been texting while driving.
● 1 out of every 4 car wrecks in the United States are caused specifically from texting and driving.
● Remarkably, texting and driving is 6 times more likely to cause an accident than drunk driving. Yes, you read that right, it is actually safer for you to ride with a drunk driver than a texting driver. However, don’t ride with either.
● It takes just 3 seconds after a driver’s mind is taken off the road for an accident to happen. 3 seconds is the time it takes to turn on the ignition to start your car. Reading a text message takes a minimum of 5 seconds. Plenty of time for an accident to happen. 55 miles per hour is the average speed in the United States. At this speed, taking 5 seconds to read a text, a driver will travel the length of a football field without looking at the road. Plenty of time and distance for a complete disaster.
● The time your eyes are off the road increases by 400% when you text while you drive.
● When polled, 77% of adults and 55% of teenage drivers say that they can easily manage texting while driving although they report veering off lane 10% of their total drive time.
● The University of Utah did a study and found that the reaction time for a teen using a cell phone is the same as that of a 70 year old who is not using one.
● Alarmingly, 48% of kids in their younger teenage years have ridden in a car while the driver was texting.

It is nearly impossible to overstate the very real dangers of texting while driving. Texting while driving a car sets up a perfect trifecta of conditions that, each on their own, would probably be harmless, but when put all together, it is just a disaster waiting to happen. The trifecta of conditions are these:

1. Visual. Your eyes are removed from the road you are moving on.
2. Manual. Takes you hands off the steering wheel that you are actually using to steer the already moving car.
3. Cognitive. This takes your brains’ focus, your actual thinking process, away from the road you are actively driving on and puts that focus on the letters and words you are typing on the phone (which is part of your new focus) and also you are focusing on the person you are texting the message to. You are certainly not thinking about driving a moving vehicle at this point in time. And, actually, that is a very small point in time that can have truly disastrous consequences.

When you are engulfed in a texting conversation, it is very easy to forget you are sharing the road with other people. In just the 5 seconds it takes to open and read or send a short text, you have already zoomed past the length of a football field without even looking at it! You might as well have just closed your eyes and drove. I can hear you now thinking, “Hey, that is crazy. I would never put myself and others in danger by driving with my eyes closed!” However, you are effectively doing just that every time you text while driving.

Many states are finally recognizing the extreme dangers of texting (or using a cell phone in any way) while driving. Hopefully, all states will get on board with legislation designed to stop cell phone use while driving and especially the very treacherous texting while driving. In many states (and we would like to see these include all states) penalties could include:

● Hefty fines
● Drivers license suspension
● Loss of automobile insurance or rise in rates
● Jail or prison time, especially when injury or death occurs while texting.
● At the very least, the fines, penalties and punishments should mirror DUI convictions, as texting has proven itself to be much more dangerous than drunk driving.

This is a situation that is 100% preventable. The deaths, injuries, millions of dollars wasted, and lives shattered so far have been completely avoidable. If you are the driver, in any and all circumstances, turn off your phone while you are driving the car. There is not a call or a text in the world that is worth putting yourself and others at risk. Let the people that need to know that you will have your phone off while driving and you will contact them when you are off the road. If you are in a car as a rider with a person who is texting while driving, DO NOT HESITATE to tell them to stop. Give them the facts: they are putting themselves, YOU, and everyone else on the road in danger just for the chance to send a text message.

If you have been involved in an accident due to somebody texting while driving, Accident Care and Treatment Center, Inc. can help you feel better again. Our physicians, medical personnel, and staff provide the very best in auto accident care and treatment in Oklahoma City. Schedule an appointment with us today. You won’t even have to worry about how to pay as we’ll work with all involved insurance companies to make sure you get the treatment you deserve and need.

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