It seems as though hardly a day passes that there is not a wreck on Memorial Parkway. Each time I wonder how many people were injured, how much damage was done to the vehicles, and how many people were otherwise inconvenienced. I also pause and consider whether someone’s failure to pay attention was the cause of the wreck.
Would you seriously consider putting a blindfold on and driving down a busy highway? Presumably no one in their right mind would voluntarily do this. However, millions of people do essentially the same thing each day by texting while they are driving. The five seconds that it takes on average to read a text message and divert your attention from driving are the equivalent, at 55 miles per hour, of driving the length of a football field (including end zones) blindfolded.
Distracted driving includes more than you might think:
- Using a cellphone or smartphone
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Reading, including maps
- Using a navigation system
- Watching a video
- Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
3,154 people were killed in 2013 in the United States in car wrecks involving distracted driving. An additional424,000 people were injured.
It is estimated that, in a given month, over 150 billion text messages are sent in the United States.
At any given point in time during daylight hours in America, approximately 660,000 people are using cellphones or some type of electronic device while driving.
Using a cellphone or other portable device increases the risk of getting in a wreck by three times. Using a headset is not substantially safer than using a handheld cellphone.