The Spring 2012 issue of The Safety Report marquees vehicle accidents. Its cover story is “Distracted Driving: 1 Second Can Change Everything”.
The article notes that distracted driving is responsible for almost 450,000 vehicle accidents, including more than 5,000 wrongful death (or 16% of all fatal crashes in 2009), annually – and that the numbers are trending upward. Id. at 33. EndDD.org reports that “18 percent of all distracted driving fatalities occur because of cellphone use;” and “a 2011 Virginia Tech study found that a driver is 23 times more likely to crash if he/she is texting while driving”. Id.
The Safety Report highlights other disturbing statistics that show young adults in general and teenagers in particular have substantial risks of car crashes and wrongful death associated with drivers using cellphones. For example, “10 percent of drivers aged 16 to 24 years old are on their phone at any one time,” and “40 percent of American teens say thay have been in a car when the driver used a cellphone in a way that put people in danger”. Id. at 35.
In 2010, an online survey of teens ages 16-19 by AAA (www.aaa.com) and Seventeen Magazine (www.seventeen.com) “found that 86% had driven while distracted even though 84% know it’s dangerous”. Id at 37. A harbinger for car collisions is a troubling 2011 Ad Council statistic that “77% of young adult drivers are very/somewhat confident that they can safely text while driving”. Id.