It’s entirely possible to have zero deaths on our highways because of cell phone use. Texas ranks second in the nation for such deaths.
The National Safety Council’s 2014 Injury Facts report says cell phone use has caused 26% of all motor vehicle crashes. A surprising statistic comes next: just 5% involve texting, compared to 21% that involved talking on handheld cell phones, or using them hands free.
So interestingly, while everyone wants to talk about texting while driving (which is certainly important), it looks like talking on cell phones while driving causes more accidents.
And adults, you can’t just blame teens for causing all the accidents. We weren’t able to find reliable data on accident rates, but this infographic shows 13% of drivers 18-20 involved in car wrecks admitted to using their cell phones while driving. And those are just the ones that admitted to it. One problem with this statistical data is many drivers lie about their cell phone use when car crashes happen.
But teens aren’t the only ones guilty of causing auto accidents while using their cell phones:
- 48% of teens have seen their parents drive and talk on a cell phone
- 15% have seen their parents text and drive
- 27% of adults admit to having sent or received texts while driving
- 48% of kids 12-17 have been in a car where the driver text and drove at least once
On top of that, 1 in 5 drivers of all ages admit to using the internet while driving! In 2011, Texas had 38 fatal crashes due to cell phone use while driving, ranking us second in the nation. Interestingly, Tennessee, of all states, led the nation with 93 fatalities.
So What Can Be Done About All This?
Should be as simple as laying down regulation that bans cell phone use while driving, shouldn’t it? Well, maybe. A UC-Berkeley study examined California laws about this and found no meaningful difference between accident rates before and after such regulation was passed.
They theorized this might happen because:
- Drivers simply ignore the law
- Drivers who continued talking on the phone may be perpetually prone to driving distracted
- Other studies overestimated the risks of being distracted
Stopping car accidents caused by cell phone use is easy, but it requires an attitude change on behalf of the adults. Here’s a simple process that you can use:
- Realize you can get injured, or die, at any time when using a cell phone in your vehicle
- Stop using your cell phone while you drive
- Make the same rule for your teen
- Follow your own rules
- If your teen breaks the rule, follow through with logical consequences like taking away their cell phone, driving privileges, or both
It really is that easy to get 0 traffic deaths because of cell phone use. It’s up to you to follow through and make it happen.
Share this information with your loved ones. One potential life saved is worth the push of a button or a conversation.
If you find yourself in need of a good Dallas injury attorney for an accident contact us today!
Shane V. Mullen is an attorney licensed by the State of Texas for the general practice of law, and the Managing Partner at Mullen & Mullen Law Firm in Dallas, TX. His firm focuses exclusively on personal injury law and has been in business for 40 years. Before becoming a lawyer, Shane worked for his father as an accident injury claims investigator.