The University of North Texas Health Science Center has looked at traffic data from the Fatality Accident Reporting System and texting data from the FCC and CTIA, and — after some hefty number crunching — has come to the conclusion that texting while driving is responsible for accidents that claimed 16,141 lives during the period of 2001 – 2007.
I don’t think you need me to tell you that this is an alarmingly large number.
The original article in the LA Times also highlights some interesting factoids from the article:
- The percentage of all traffic deaths caused by distracted driving rose from 11% in 1999 to 16% in 2008.
- Distracted-driving crashes are more common in urban areas. Overall, 40% of all crashes happened in urban areas in 2008, up from 33% a decade earlier.
- Only one-third of Americans had a cellphone in 1999. By 2008, 91% of us did.
- The average monthly volume of text messages was 1 million in 2002. By 2008, it was 110 million.
We’ve said it before: it’s dangerous and unnecessary, and people, please don’t do it.
But, the research also says, that pleading to drivers won’t solve the problem (well, duh) and calls for legislation or software changes (either restricting the practise, or enabling voice-to-text) to solve the problem, as well as examination of mobile phone records as routine in accident investigation.