The Advantage Blog

Texting & Driving …. A Losing Combination



At any given daylight moment across America, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving.

In 2014, 3,179 people were killed, and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.

It is Not All About the Teenagers
A staggering 49 percent of adults admit to texting and driving, even though 98 percent of adults say they know the practice is unsafe. The adults between the ages of 21 – 24 are the group most likely to send a text or email message while driving, states a 2012 NHTSA survey.

Setting the Right Example
Being a good role model as a parent is important. 53% of parents text while waiting at a red light, and 41% text while their car is in motion. Their children are following suit; 60% of teenagers text while stopped at red lights and 43% do so while driving.

It’s Like Driving with Your Eyes Closed
On average it takes 4.6 seconds to read or write a text message. During this time, if you are traveling 40 miles per hour, you have effectively driven the length of 16 cars with your eyes shut.  At 55 mph you’ve covered the length of a football field blindfolded.

Indiana’s Law on Texting & Driving
There is no cell phone prohibition for drivers in Indiana except that novice drivers – drivers under 18 – are prohibited from using cell phones (handheld or hands-free) while driving.

All Indiana drivers are prohibited from reading and responding to text and other electronic messages unless it is to report a “bona fide emergency.”

How is the law enforced?
Indiana’s cell phone and texting laws are considered “primary” laws. A primary law means that an officer can pull you over for the offense without having to witness some other violation. That is, the officer sees you texting and issues a citation.

The average texting and driving fine in the US is $100, but a couple states hand out fines that can be much larger. Alaska is perhaps the state that takes the issue most seriously: the maximum fine for texting and driving there is $10,000.

Ending Distracted Driving
The best way to end distracted driving is to educate our friends and family about the danger it poses.

Have that serious talk with your teen and set ground rules when they are behind the wheel.  It is much less likely that a teen will text and drive if they have guidelines set by their parents.

Have every member of your family commit to distraction-free driving.  Set a positive example by putting your cell phone in the glove compartment every time you drive.

Jordan Spieth PSA
For those of you who watched the Masters golf tournament, you might have seen this 15 second PSA with Jordan Spieth.  Check it out.  It says it all at It Can Wait.