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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

Driving and Your Smartphone: Statistics You Need to Know

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Jun 30th 2011


textingI’ve brought this up in a previous post, but I think it deserves a little more attention. There is something going on right now in our culture with smart phones that we need to bring more awareness to. Smart phones are now becoming little entertainment centers and the hub for the majority of communications we give and receive. It’s where we talk on the phone, text, chat, Facebook, Twitter, watch YouTube, schedule our calendars, check the weather, sports scores, other news, among a host of other applications. Consolidation is great, so what’s the danger? You may have guessed it, driving.

I was driving on the road the other day and I tried a little experiment, from time to time I would look at some of my driving neighbors just to see if any of them were engaged with their phones. A number of drivers were on their phones talking, some were talking in the air (guessing they had built in car phones) and more often than I’d like to see I saw someone looking up and down texting and punching some message into their phone.

It’s no longer just texting and driving that’s an issue, it’s simply communicating with our Smart Phones while driving that’s an issue.

However, here a study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI):

  • Of all cell phone related tasks - including talking, dialing, or reaching for the phone - texting while driving is the most dangerous.
  • Teen drivers are four times more likely than adults to get into car crashes or near crash events directly related to talking on a cell phone or texting.
  • A car driver dialing a cell phone is 2.8 times more likely to get into a crash than a non-distracted driver.
  • A driver reaching for a cell phone or any other electronic device is 1.4 times more likely to experience a car crash.
  • A car driver talking on their phone is 1.3 times more likely to get into an accident.
  • A truck driver texting while driving is 23.2 times more likely to get into an accident than a trucker paying full attention to the road.
  • A truck driver dialing a cell is 5.9 times more likely to crash.
  • A trucker reaching for a phone or other device is 6.7 times more likely to experience a truck accident.
  • For every 6 seconds of drive time, a driver sending or receiving a text message spends 4.6 of those seconds with their eyes off the road. This makes texting the most distracting of all cell phone related tasks.

I’m guessing if you surveyed your friends or colleagues a year ago and now today, you’d see more use of interacting with the phone (e.g., texting, applications, etc…) while driving.  

Awareness of this is put out there, states are giving tickets for texting while driving, but I believe use is going up.  It’s almost, or perhaps is, an addiction we don’t truly have a handle on.

So, as best you can, if you do this, look at these statistics and just think twice asking yourself if you can wait to check the message or interact with a friend via text until you arrive at your next destination. Don’ t let the thought, “It’s not going to happen to me,” put you and others in harms way.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from. 


Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

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