Taylor Sauer’s last text message will never be forgotten: “I can’t discuss this now. Driving and facebooking is not safe! Haha.”
Seconds later Taylor was dead.
Late at night she was driving home from college on Idaho’s I-84 in excess of 80 MPH… to pass the time she was facebooking a friend about the Denver Broncos. Apparently she never knew that in front of her a tanker truck was slowly creeping up a hill at only 15 MPH.
Investigators found no evidence of her braking.
Texting While Driving Facts And Statistics
All forms of distracted driving is dangerous- however texting while driving is by far the most dangerous. Consider these statistics:
- During 2011 in the United States 3,331 people were killed and 387,000 were injured in accidents involving a distracted driver. For comparison 2,996 people were killed and just over 6,000 were injured during the terrorist attacks of September 11th.
- During 2011 in the United States 1,300,000 collisions involved the use of cell phones.
- Use of a cell phone while driving reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%.
- On average sending or receiving a text message distracts a driver for 4.6 seconds. At 55 MPH this is equivalent to driving the length of an entire football field BLINDFOLDED.
- Text messaging increases the likelihood of an accident by 23%.
Clearly these statics indicate just how dangerous it is to drive while using a cell phone. It is very sobering to consider that distracted drivers pose a far greater risk to society then terrorists… but where is the war on distracted driving?
Stopping Texting While Driving
So, what can we do as individual citizens to alleviate this epidemic? Here are a few suggestions:
- Each of us as individuals must commit to not using a cell phone while driving. Before driving silence your phone and store it out of site in the glove compartment. That important phone call you are expecting can wait.
- We must set the right example for our children. If our children grow up watching us use our cell phones while driving, guess what they are going to do when they hit their teen years and start driving? That’s right… they will mimic what they have observed us doing for years. It will be too late for lectures.
- Catch your teen texting and driving? Be the parent they NEED by showing them tough love. Take away their phone and/or their driving privileges.
- Say something! If you are riding in a car and the driver starts to fiddle with their cell phone, you must speak up. Your life may depend on it. Offer to type and send the message for them.
While some of these suggestions may seem extreme– nothing could be more extreme than dying in an accident that could have been prevented. Our families are depending on us, we must not let them down.
Let’s have the resolve to stop this epidemic.
Parents of teen who died texting and driving: ‘Kids think they’re invincible’
D!STRACTION.GOV website accessed on February 27, 2013.
“September 11 Attacks“. Wikipedia. Accessed on February 27, 2013.
Texting and Driving Safety website accessed on February 27, 2013.