A group of researchers from the University of North Texas Health Science Center took a close look at texting while driving by analyzing traffic data from the Fatality Accident Reporting System and texting data from the FCC and CTIA. After crunching the numbers, the team attributed 16,141 deaths from texting while driving during the six years between 2001 to 2007. We all know that texting while driving is dangerous, now we have an estimated number to support our assumptions.
The study also took a look at major trends in traffic data and the amazing increase in cell phone usage and came up with some interesting observations:
- Deaths from distracted driving rose 28% from 2005 to 2008, at the same time text messaging rates skyrocketed from 1 million texts per month in 2001 up to a staggering 110 million per month in 2008.
- Handset ownership also ballooned-in 1999, only 33% of Americans had a cell phone, while in 2008, 91% had a cell phone. Presumably, increased ownership leads to increased in the car usage and an increase in the rate of distracted driving
- 6% of US drivers, at any given time, are using a cell phone while behind the wheel. Though this figure has remained steady since 2005, usage has changed from talking while driving to the more dangerous texting while driving.
- distracted-driving crashes are more common in urban areas and increasingly involve males who impact a roadside obstruction while driving alone
While these figures are useful for fleshing out this troubling trend, earlier studies suggest people will still text and drive even though they are well aware of the risk. These studies suggest the best deterrent is not personal accountability but legislation and software solutions that either physically prevent texting while driving or offer voice control as an alternative.
[Via LA Times]