We hear a lot about the risks of texting while driving, but is texting really the issue? Or are the bigger issues with those hand-held mobile devices’ other actions? Here’s what a new survey found, and what it means for today’s drivers.
With all of the anti-texting and anti-driving ads that have saturated the airwaves in recent years, statistics indicate that more people are using their smartphones while driving. Over the past five years, the insurance firm State Farm has conducted an annual report on distracted driving habits. People are now using smartphones when driving in greater numbers; however, they are still texting half of the time and are not talking nearly as much.
People, especially young people, prefer to communicate with others through social media and email on their phones rather than talking or texting. Distracted driving hasn’t been any less risky just because the form of contact has changed. In reality, reading emails and posting on social media takes up far more time and is far more stressful than simply talking on the phone.
Texting and driving crash caught on camera
I don’t believe it’s possible to predict that solely based on social media data. Hours of practice, cognitive and motor skills, and the consistency of the driving school curriculum are all factors that affect whether or not anyone passes their driver’s test. Many of these details can’t be gleaned from social media data. As a result, predicting whether or not anyone will pass their driving test using social media will be incredibly difficult. Using social media data, however, we might be able to say whether someone is engaging in risky activity (e.g., substance use or sexual risk behaviors). This could be beneficial in terms of insurance policies. You can read more about this in this article by Dr. Sean Young, but there is still a lot of work to be done before we can reliably predict whether or not anyone would take risks.
There are a number of smartphone applications that can assist in avoiding distracted driving incidents. When a vehicle is in motion, there are six smartphone apps that will automatically disable those functions on wireless devices.
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The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project polled 800 teens aged 12 to 17 in the summer of 2009 about their experiences with mobile phone use in cars. Many of the teens in our survey were questioned about their experiences as drivers, as well as their own acts behind the wheel if they were 16 or older and had a mobile phone. In addition, between June and October 2009, the Project and the University of Michigan held 9 focus groups with teens aged 12 to 18, in which the subject of driving and cell phones was explored.
Seventy-five percent of all American teenagers aged 12 to 17 have a mobile phone, and 66 percent use it to send and receive text messages. Mobile phones and text messages are more popular among older teens than among younger teens; 82 percent of 16-17-year-olds have a cell phone, and 76 percent text.
Simultaneously, texting while driving is less common than talking on the phone while driving. When asked if they have spoken on their phone while driving, 52 percent of 16-17-year-olds say they have. This equates to 43% of all 16-17-year-olds in the United States.
Facebook update while driving
We believe it is the duty of social media software developers to advise users not to drive while using their applications, and in some cases, to disable the app so that it cannot be used while driving.
Every day, more than ten people are killed and 1,000 are injured as a result of distracted driving. Teens are particularly affected by distracted driving, with distracted driving already believed to be the cause of more than half of all teen accidents. Drivers using social media apps are causing an increasing number of collisions, in addition to texting while driving. Teenagers are among the most avid users of mobile social media applications.
A case was recently brought against an 18-year-old who was reportedly using Snapchat while driving over 100 mph and causing a severe accident. Joel Feldman, the founder of End Distracted Driving, wrote an essay about the incident.
End Distracted Driving (EndDD.org) has teamed up with the Alliance for Distraction-Free Driving to start a petition initiative urging social media platforms to do the following: