Cell Phones + Driving: How Safe is Your State?
The dangers of texting and driving shouldn’t be news to anyone in 2020. Many of us have heard statistics such as “More than 3,400 people died due to distracted driving in 2016”, or “Estimates indicate drivers using cell phones look at but fail to see up to 50 percent of the information in their driving environment”. There’s an even more recent statistic published by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute that has found that while driving at 55mph, in the time it takes to read or send a text message, it’s the equivalent of driving blind for the length of an entire football field.
Knowing these facts and more, most of the country has made texting while driving illegal and punishable by law. In fact, many states feel that only banning texting doesn’t go far enough. Several have already implemented a ban on hand-held devices altogether (yes, that includes picking up your phone to replay the A Star is Born soundtrack for the tenth time) and bumped up the crime to a primary offense. One of the few exceptions in these states is when making an emergency phone call.
As a whole, however, our country still has a way to go. There are states that don’t seem to be taking the dangers of distracted driving as seriously as they should. Three states have yet to fully ban (or ban at all) texting and driving. Those that have banned texting are on the right path, but most still allow hand-held phone use, or have only made the crime a secondary offense.
Because we feel it’s important to be the change we want to see in the world, Elephant has partnered with Project Yellow Light. Founded by Julie Garner after losing her teenage son in a car accident in 2007, this national scholarship competition is dedicated to encouraging teens and adults alike to practice safe driving habits, and to educate everyone about the dangers of distracted driving, specifically texting while driving.
As part of a larger effort to further their cause, we’ve compiled, broken down, and reviewed all 50 states and U.S. Territories to show you who’s doing it right, and who needs to step up their game. Click here to find your state in our list, and if you think there’s more it should be doing to keep you and other drivers safe, we encourage you to call your state and local legislators to let them know your thoughts.
Data, statistics, and information were provided by the following: