Statistics

Car crashes were the leading cause of death for 15-20 year olds. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

Every hour of every weekend and every two hours during the week a teenager died in a car crash. (NHTSA)

A national total of 4,842 young drivers (ages 16-20) were killed in motor vehicle crashes. (NHTSA)

Young drivers (15-20) had 59.5 fatal crashes per 100,000 licensed drivers, the highest of all age groups and more than double the amount of any age group over 35. (NHTSA)

 

2007
Young drivers are among the strongest users of cell phones, and they tend to be early adopters and aggressive users of technology. (Lee)

Research suggests many key areas of the brain are still developing during adolescence, including areas involved in regulatory competence, forming judgments and decision making. (Keating) For these reasons, teenage drivers may have greater difficulty than experienced drivers in effectively managing potentially distracting behaviors and situations while driving.

 

2008
In 2008, 5,870 people were killed in crashes involving driver distraction, and an estimated 515,000 were injured. (NHTSA)

Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%. (Carnegie Mellon)

In comparison to older drivers, teenagers perceived in-vehicle tasks (such as cell phone use) to involve less risk, and they had higher opinions of their ability to multitask. (Lerner, Singer & Huey)

 

2009
In 2009 the “Word of the Year” by Webster’s New World College Dictionary was “Distracted Driving”.

In 2009, 5,474 people were killed in crashes involving driver distraction, and an estimated 448,000 were injured. (NHTSA)

The volume of text messaging across all age groups has gone up and the most active are 13 – 19 year olds. From this group, 34% are sending more than 1000 texts per month on an average.

16% of fatal crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving and 20% of all injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving.

40% of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger. (Pew Research Center)

Teen drivers are more likely than other age groups to be involved in a fatal crash where distraction is reported. (NHTSA)

Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted. Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. (VTTI)

Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, at 55mph, that’s the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field, blind. (VTTI)

 

2010
In 2010 the Department of Transportation (DOT), conducted a Distracted Driving Summit. There are three types of distraction – visual, manual, and cognitive. Texting while driving is considered the “perfect storm” of distracted driving since it involves all three types of distraction, making it the most dangerous form.

In 2010, the National Safety Council estimates that 28% of all traffic accidents involve drivers using a cell phone. 1.4 million accidents were from using a cell phone and 200,000 are due to texting.

In a study of 4,800 people, more than one third of cell phone users admitted to texting behind the wheel. In the same study, 97% of teenagers and 93% of twenty something’s admitted that they use text messaging.

A growing body of research now suggests that texting may be as common among young drivers, if not more so, than talking on a handheld phone. (Madden & Lenhart, 2009; O’Brien et al., 2010)

 

2011
In the month of June 2011, more than 196 billion text messages were sent or received in the US, up nearly 50% from June 2009. (CTIA)

A few studies suggest drivers may be more likely to engage in potentially distracted activities when the driving environment seemed “safer”. (Atchley, Atwood & Boulton)

 

AAA’s study “Distracted Driving Among Newly Licensed Teen Drivers” they discovered that females were twice as likely as males to be using an electronic device. (AAA Foundation Report)

Generally speaking, electronic device use and other distracted driving behaviors were most common when teens were carrying no passengers. (AAA Foundation Report)

Using a cell phone while driving delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (University of Utah)

Distracted driving is believed to be under-reported in crash records.

Distracted driving, because of electronic device use, increased on the weekends while all other distracted driving behaviors decreased on the weekends.

A few studies using driving simulators have suggested drivers may slow down or increase  following distances when using a cell phone, perhaps to compensate for delayed reaction times.

4 comments

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You are 23 times more likely to crash if you text while driving.