Dangers of texting while driving

Posted in Auto

A car idles while two children hold hands and cross the street in a cross walk.

Would you ever drive the length of a football field at 55 mph while blindfolded? Well, that’s essentially what you’re doing when texting while driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), texting behind the wheel takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of five seconds, which is the time it takes to go from one end zone to the other. It’s an incredibly dangerous act that can cost lives.

Texting while driving is a form of distracted driving and the NHTSA reports 3,142 lives were cut short by distracted driving in 2019.

Many teenagers and adults know the risks, so why are we still doing it? Experts believe we compulsively check our phones because every time we get an alert on our phone our brain sends out a signal that makes us feel happy. Drivers say they continue to do this because it’s a habit, like to stay connected and it makes them feel more productive.

Texting while driving is a bad habit. We can work together to decrease driver distraction across the board to create safer roads for everyone. Here are some distracted driving stats and tips you can use to help end texting while driving:

Alarming stats

  • More than 3,000 teens die each year in crashes caused by texting while driving (Autosafety.com)
  • Cell phones are involved in 1.6 million auto crashes each year that cause a half million injuries and take 6,000 lives (United States Department of Transportation)
  • Truck drivers are 23 times more likely to be in an accident when texting behind the wheel
  • It’s estimated that 40 percent of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that puts people in danger (National Safety Council)
  • Women are more likely than men to reach for their cell phones while driving (National Occupant Protection Use)
  • 48 percent of young drivers have seen their parents text while driving (Consumer Reports)
  • Using a cell phone while driving, whether it’s hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent (National Safety Council)

How you can help the distracted driving issue

  • Don’t send or respond to a text message while driving or stopping at a red light
  • Turn off your phone and put it in your pocket or purse; only use it when the car is in park
  • Always stay focused on the road when driving
  • Speak out if you are in the car with someone who is texting behind the wheel
  • Spread the word to promote safety in your community
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Texting while driving can cost you

Wisconsin’s inattentive driving law prohibits drivers from texting behind the wheel. The penalty for a first offense is as high as $400 and a four-point deduction, and if you get caught a second time you’ll pay up to $800.

Minnesota’s texting law prohibits drivers from texting behind the wheel. The law also prohibits sending electronic messages and includes but is not limited to email, instant message, a command or request to access the internet. The penalty for a first offense is $300.

Iowa’s inattentive driving law prohibits drivers from texting behind the wheel. The penalty for a first offense is as high as $1,000 for causing a serious accident.

It’s very easy for law enforcement to subpoena a cell phone company and check your account to see if you were texting. Your auto insurance premiums may increase if you are caught texting while driving.

This article is for informational and suggestion purposes only. Implementing these suggestions does not guarantee coverage. If any policy coverage descriptions in this article conflict with the language in the policy, the language in the policy applies. For full details on Integrity’s auto insurance coverages and discounts, contact your local independent agent.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
National Safety Council

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