Most people think that distracted driving is limited to driving while texting, but it takes many other forms as well—putting a CD in the stereo, trying to break up a fight in the backseat, or simply watching the scenery, rather than the road. The bulk of accidents involving distracted drivers, though, involve the use of handheld devices. According to a U.S. Department of Transportation website—www.distraction.gov—nearly 700,000 drivers may be texting, talking or looking up something on a handheld device at any given moment.
The numbers are even higher for people under the age of 30. One out of four teenage drivers admitted to sending or receiving a text message almost every time they get behind the wheel. Even worse, one in five said they routinely engage in lengthy text message exchanges while driving. A study found that approximately 10 percent of fatal motor vehicle accidents involving teens also involved the use of a handheld device by one of the drivers.
Others startling statistics—
- More than half of all teens polled said they talk to parents while driving, because it’s expected of them
- Six of ten teens say they are more inclined to text while driving by themselves
- 70% of people aged 16-19 said they will text while at a stop sign or traffic light
Most transportation officials say that these numbers most likely understate the nature of the problem, as they rely on police reports and self-reporting of drivers.
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