Getting behind the wheel comes with all sorts of risks, some of which drivers are in control of and some that are out of their control. Unfortunately, the risk of an accident while driving has gotten greater in the past several years, reaching its highest point in nearly a decade.
According to the National Safety Council, traffic deaths rose 6% in 2016 over the previous year. An estimated 40,200 deaths occurred on American roads last year, nearly reaching the record set in 2007 of 41,000 traffic deaths.
A number of key factors contribute to traffic deaths, including lower gas prices, increased speed limits, and an improving economy – but distracted driving is by far one of the most significant factors contributing to car accident deaths, specifically using a cell phone while driving.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found 69% of drivers admitted to talking on their cell phones while driving and 31% of drivers reported they read or sent text messages while driving. These statistics are particularly alarming considering the average amount of time a person takes his or her eyes off the road while texting is five seconds – long enough to travel the length of a football field at 55 miles per hour. This makes drivers who are texting 23 times more likely to cause a car crash than drivers who are not distracted.
What makes accidents caused by cell phones more tragic is 94% of drivers acknowledge using a cell phone while driving is dangerous, but many do it anyway. This reckless decision-making causes serious motor vehicle accidents. Drivers need to remember driving is both a privilege and a responsibility. And, drivers who recklessly endanger the lives of others can be held responsible for the damage they cause.