- A texting driver is 23 times more likely to get into a crash than a non-texting driver (2009, VTTI, Texting Raises Crash Risk 23 Times, Study Finds)
- 49% of drivers with cell phones under the age of 35 send or read text messages while driving (2011, Harris Poll, Most Drivers With Cell Phones Use Them While Driving Even Though They Know It Is Unsafe; More Than One In Five Text While Driving).
And while there are a number of approaches to addressing the problem, none of them seem to be particularly effective. Actually, the problem is growing so dramatically that researchers are calling on the tech industry to create technology that makes it impossible for people to use cellphones when driving.
Current approaches include the following:
- Education to deter texting while driving - many different government and private organizations have been publicizing the dangers of mobile phone use while driving and texting while driving, to little effect. (Keeping an Eye on Distracted Driving)
- Legislation to ban cell phone use and/or texting while driving - there are currently bans on hand-held mobile phone use while driving in Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, and almost 40 US states currently ban texting while driving. This has had little to no effect. (Keeping an Eye on Distracted Driving). Some researcher hypothesize that this is due to the fact that drivers continue to talk and text while driving, just doing so in a more stealthy manner.
- Technology to disable cell phone use while at driving speeds - this approach is problematic from a number of standpoints, including the fact that this may interfere with emergency communications (calling in or out), and the phone user may or may not be driving (e.g. a passenger).