Shockingly 1 out of every 4 car crashes is now caused by drivers using cell phones. If you're using a cell phone and driving, you might as well be driving drunk; the deadly habit of texting when behind the wheel is equivalent to drinking 4 beers.
The latest scientific research on driving and cell phone use demonstrates how the human brain goes into overload and cannot handle this kind of multitasking. Reaction time to what's happening on the road is reduced substantially, and "inattention blindness," a phenomenon where the brain never sees what's in plain sight, occurs.
The distracted driving statistics piling up are frightening:
- In 2008, more than 1/2 million people were injured in car accidents caused by distracted drivers, most of them using cell phones or texting. Nearly 6,000 fatalities resulted.
- The AAA Foundation reported in 2009 that 95% of all drivers believe texting or emailing while driving is unsafe, yet, 1 in 5 admit to doing it anyway. In teens that number skyrockets to more than 1 in 2.
- In a University of Utah study, texting while driving increases the risk of crashing by 8 times, double the risk of causing a wreck while driving drunk.
In a study at Virginal Tech, a driver's reaction time drops by 35% while texting and driving; steering control decreases by 91%.