We all love the capabilities our mobile devices offer us on a day to day basis. The ability to make phone calls from anywhere, send quick and easy text messages, or keep in touch with friends and family via social media is wonderful. However, this hasn’t come without unintended consequences. One of these has been named “distracted driving.” More and more people are using their mobile devices while driving, causing a significant increase in traffic accidents and fatalities. This can be directly traced to things like text messaging and app use. Recent national statistics are scary, to say the least:

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2014, 18 percent of injury crashes, and 16 percent of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes were reported as distraction-affected crashes.
  • In 2014, there were 3,179 people killed and an estimated additional 431,000 people wounded in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
  • At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010.
  • Ten percent of drivers aged 15 to 19 who were involved in fatal automobile accidents were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes.
  • In 2014, there were 520 non-occupants killed in distraction-affected crashes.

These stats are alarming. But there are even more interesting ways to look at statistics to illustrate the problem.

  • 9 – Americans are killed every day from a motor vehicle accident involving distracted driving
  • 25% – Probability that a crash involved a cell phone
  • 4x – How much using a cell phone increases the risk of an accident
  • 33% – The percentage of U.S. drivers ages 18 to 64 who reported reading or writing text messages while driving in the previous month. In comparison, only 15 percent of drivers from Spain reported texting while driving in the same period.

To read and send a basic text message, the smallest amount of time required with your eyes off the road is 5 seconds. To put that in perspective, when traveling at 55 mph you travel the length of an entire football field in 5 seconds!

It’s important that as we grow as a society, and mobile devices become a bigger part of our lives, that we learn how to use them safely. One important habit is to put them away while driving.

Louisiana is doing their part in helping keep drivers safe. Currently, there is a statewide ban on the use of wireless devices for writing, sending, or reading text-based communications while driving, regardless of age. In Louisiana, new drivers with “learner’s” or “intermediate” licenses cannot use cell phones while driving. The maximum penalty for new drivers who violate the cell phone law is $175. Also know that if you’re driving through a school zone during posted hours, it is against the law to use your cell phone or other mobile devices for any reason.