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Drivers take distracted driving dangers for granted thinking "it can’t happen to me." Chances are you’ve probably done it yourself.

Sam Biddle at Gizmodo reports that a study by the Governors Highway Safety Association found that 25% of all car crashes are connect at least in part to portable electronics.

"If your smartphone doesn’t kill you with cancer, it might be fated to help crash your car."

– Sam Biddle at

The GHSA study collected and assessed research from more than 350 scientific papers published since 2000. The results showed that drivers are distracted up to 50% of the time .

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood estimates that 500,000 people are injured and thousands more killed in distracted driving accidents.

Last year the Huffington Post compared the dangers of texting while driving with driving under the influence with some surprising results — the study showed that texting while driving was much more dangerous than drinking and driving. According to that same investigative project:

  • Drivers are twice as likely to cause a crash if texting than if drinking — Drunk driving increases the likelihood of causing a car crash by 4 times while texting and driving increases the risk by 8 times.
  • Texting drivers need 6 times as much distance to stop than a dunk driver — drunk drivers travel 4 additional feet before stopping while a texting driver travels 25 more feet before stopping
  • Texting drivers typically gaze at their mobile device for 5 seconds — enough time to travel 29 car lengths at interstate speeds.

I’ve written many times on the dangers of distracted driving. While this problem persists, the good news is that programs to combat distracted driving are working. USA Today has reported that the same kind of high-profile law enforcement crackdown and public education campaign that led to record seat belt use has proved highly effective against distracted driving in pilot programs.

Distracted driving education starts early. In fact, Disney and Pixar released the following PSA for children and parents in conjunction with the release of Cars 2.

(c) Copyright 2011 Brett A. Emison

[More on Distracted Driving]


  1. Gravatar for Karen Swim

    Brett, I have traded some of my commuting for bike riding and am amazed at how few people drive without distraction. I have to be extra vigilant on a bike and have watched many near misses with other riders because the drivers simply were not paying attention. As a society we seem to have accepted distracted driving but it is dangerous and we need to reverse the complacency and help change behaviors. Thank you for being part of the solution.

  2. Gravatar for Rich

    I'm very happy to hear that texting while driving campaigns are having a positive effect. Of course, we all know that it's much more than just texting and driving at the same time - using the radio, ipods, GPS devices, etc. can all lead to an unfortunate conclusion.

    My tip (what works for me) is to get everything set before I start my trip. Get the GPS set up and activated, plug in my iPod and set up a playlist, etc. This way I can still make use of my gadgets while being as safe as possible.

  3. Gravatar for marsh

    Hope u like my new music video about dangers of distracted driving - Won't Start Texting

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