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10 Shocking Facts About Texting and Driving

Think you can juggle your smartphone and the wheel of an automobile? Think again. Texting and driving may seem like a harmless habit but it’s actually more dangerous than driving under the influence. Here are 10 facts you may want to keep in mind the next time you get behind the wheel.

Sponsored by the Alberta Motor Association 

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The Numbers Are Staggering

There’s a distracted driver behind 80% of all traffic accidents and inattentive driving is the cause of 65% of near misses on the road. We all know how dangerous it is to drive while intoxicated – driving while under the spell of your smartphone, one of the most common in-car distractors, is six times as risky.

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Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Keeping your phone in your pocket or purse while you’re behind the wheel means you’re three times less likely to be involved in a collision.

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Very High Odds

A driver putting on makeup is three times more likely to be in an accident. Talking on a cell phone puts drivers at a four to five times higher risk on the road. Texting? That increases your likelihood of being involved in a collision by 23 times.

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In a Blink of an Eye…

Looking at your phone for five seconds is no big deal, right? Actually, it’s a very big deal. Say you’re travelling at a speed of around 90 km/hr – in just five seconds, you’ll have driven the length of a football field completely oblivious to what was happening on the road.

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You’re Not Fooling Anyone

You may think you’re getting away with texting and driving but you’re not fooling the Alberta Provincial Police. That pale blue glow emanating from your lap? It’s a dead giveaway. The police know what you’re doing down there, and they’ll fine you $172 for doing it.

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Texting is Costly for Your Health

Talk might be cheap, but texting and driving is expensive. Canada’s economy suffers to the tune of $10 billion per year (yep, that’s billion with a ‘b’) in terms of lost productivity and the health care costs associated with automobile accidents.

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Distraced Driving is Deadly

Texting and driving has become an “epidemic” of distraction, says former U.S. transportation secretary Ray LaHood – and he’s right. The four million car accidents involving distracted drivers that occur across North America each year? Those are proof.

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Many Teens Text and Drive

Attention, teenage drivers. A full 25% of you check and answer your text messages at least once every single time you get behind the wheel. What’s worse is that one fifth of you carry on lengthy back and forth text conversations while you’re supposed to be focused on the road.

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… And So Do Their Parents

Hey, parents – don’t worry, we didn’t forget about you! – research shows that older, experienced drivers text and drive more often than teens do. What happened to setting a good example for your kids?

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Some People Will Text and Drive Anyway

Here’s the most shocking fact of all: Even knowing the substantial risks associated with texting and driving, some people will continue to use their smartphones when they’re on the road. If the statistics haven’t changed your mind, check out this short film from acclaimed documentarian Werner Herzog and hear firsthand from drivers whose biggest regret is picking up the phone while they were behind the wheel.

For more information, visit the Alberta Motor Association’s website.