Driver distraction is one of the most important factors in a car crash. According to a survey of 6,000 drivers by the NHTSA, 20% of those in the 18-20 year old group and 30% of those 21-34 years old believed that texting did not affect their driving.
Of the 6,000 drivers surveyed, 6% had been in a crash the previous year and 7% with near misses. Here are some interesting things from the survey:
Researchers from the Monash University Accident Research Centre in Australia found that texting severely impaired driving skills, as participants spent 400% more time with their eyes off the road.
Hands-free devices aren't without risks either. The brain is distracted when talking, as attention is shifted from the road to the conversation—especially if the conversation is tense. Interestingly, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute reported that voice-to-text offers no safety advantage over manual texting while the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reported voice-activated in-car technologies “dangerously undermine driver attention.”
To summarize, avoid all distractions while driving and keep your eyes on the road!