It is estimated that 44% of American drivers have cell phones in their vehicles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the percentage of drivers who were using a cell phone increased in 2010. Most Americans believe that talking on the phone and texting are two of the most dangerous behaviors that occur on the road, but 81% of drivers admit to making phone calls while driving.
About 6,000 deaths and a half a million injuries are caused by distracted drivers every year. In 2009, 867 fatal crashes were reported to have involved cell phones as a means for driver distraction, indicating that 18% of all fatal distracted-driving crashes were related to cell phone use. The two largest regions for cell phone use while driving are the South and the Northeast.
More than 75% of drivers reported that they were likely to answer calls while driving. They also said that they rarely consider traffic situations when deciding to use their cell phones. Drivers talking on cell phones are 18% slower to react to brake lights. They also take 17% longer to regain the speed they lost after they had braked.
Over 1/3 of drivers say that they have sent or received text messages while driving, and 18% said they do it regularly. Answering a text takes away your attention for about five seconds. That is enough time to travel the length of a football field. Studies have found that texting while driving causes a 400 percent increase in time spent with eyes off the road. Additionally about 13% of adult drivers have admitted to surfing the Internet while driving.
Teenage drivers have the highest percentage of distracted drivers. 61% of teen drivers admitting to risky driving habits. While teenagers are texting, they spend about 10 percent of the time outside the driving lane they’re supposed to be in. Talking on a cell phone while driving can make a young driver’s reaction time as slow as that of a 70-year-old. Despite knowing the risks, the majority of teen drivers ignore cell phone driving restrictions. In 2007, driver distractions, such as using a cell phone or text messaging, contributed to nearly 1,000 crashes involving 16- and 17-year-old drivers.
In Massachusetts there is a ban on all cell phone use for bus drivers and novice drivers, as well a ban on texting and other internet related activities for all drivers. The punishment for the first offense is a $100 fine, followed by $250, and then $500. In January 2012, The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Transportation approved a handheld cell phone bill January 26, which would require all drivers to use hands-free devices Current prohibitions:We all know that accidents can happen when a driver is experiencing distractions. It is a no-brainer that texting or talking on a hand held cell phone while driving can be dangerous.