Cellphone Distraction

Maybe you’ve had this experience.  You pull up to a traffic light, it turns green, and you are about to proceed when a vehicle comes speeding through the intersection—blowing through the red light at 60 mph.  Perhaps the driver was busy texting on their smartphone.

“People are using their phones more while they drive, and for longer periods, despite numerous legislative efforts to curb technology-induced distracted driving,” reports senior tech writer Aaron Pressman of Fortune Magazine.1

  • 16 states and DC prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cellphones while driving2
  • 38 states and DC ban all cellphone use by teenage drivers2
  • 47 states and DC ban text messaging for all drivers2

In a recent survey, driving data and analytics company Zendrive found:

  • 69 million drivers a day, or 60% of all drivers, use their phone at least once while driving1
  • These drivers use their phones an average of 3 minutes and 40 seconds per hour1

At 55 mph, if you glance at a text for five seconds, you have traveled the length of a football field.  It takes only 3 seconds from the time your attention has been diverted from the road for an accident to occur.3

According to the National Safety Council, auto deaths have experienced their largest increase in 5 decades, topping 40,000. 1

Zendrive CEO Jonathan Matus sees a clear connection between phone use and the rising death rate on the roads.  “The reason is that more young drivers are getting on the road and that smart phone apps are increasingly useful and addictive,” Matus said.1

The Hard Facts

  • 80% of auto accidents are attributed to driver distraction3
  • 25% of all motor vehicle fatalities are attributed to distracted driving3
  • Teens are the largest age group that report being distracted while driving3
  • Texting while driving is 6 times more likely to cause an accident than drinking and driving3

How to Avoid Becoming a Statistic

Over 15 million lawsuits are filed every year in the U.S.  Considering the average cost of a jury award in an auto accident related lawsuit involving a serious injury is $506,070, an accident due to distracted driving can be devastating both financially and emotionally.4

While it may be tempting to use a hands-free device like Bluetooth, or a text-to-speech app and think you’re safe while driving—you’re not.  National Safety Council research shows that using such devices while driving is still risky.5

The only safe method for using a cellphone when in your vehicle is to pull off the road and speak and/or text while your vehicle is at a full stop.  While it may be an inconvenience, you’ll reduce the chances of an accident due to distracted driving.

1Pressman, Aaron, “Distracted Driving is Skyrocketing, Even with New Laws Limiting Phones in Cars,” Fortune, April 10, 2018.
2States prohibiting use of hand-held cellphones while driving:  CA, CT, DC, DE, GA, HI, IL, MD, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OR, RI, VT, WA, WV.  Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 2018.
3”100 Distracted Driving Facts & Statistics for 2018,” TeenSafe, April 5, 2018.
4Insurance Information Institute, “Facts + Statistics: Product Liability,” 2017.
5”Distracted Driving Research, National Safety Council, 2019.