According to current information on Distraction.gov, “in 2011, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver.” There is an all-out war against distraction of drivers, especially against cellphones. At the same time, current information at the NHTSA says that “In 2010, 4,280 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 70,000 were injured in traffic crashes in the United States.” Will walking be outlawed? We better stay at home then. Which can be even deadlier: Every year, 18,000 Americans die from accidental injuries that take place in the house, making our homes the second-most deadly place to be. The deadliest place is still the car. 32,367 died in a car in 2011, says the NHTSA.
Compared to walking or staying at home, especially compared to simply being in a car, distracted driving appears to be life-extending. At least when looking at the raw numbers. No wonder that the anti-cellphone movement is getting nervous, and is looking for more dead to bolster their case.
The National Safety Council, using funds provided by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, released findings from a recent analysis that says that there could be more dead cellphone users if we’d just look hard enough. The report reviewed 180 fatal crashes from 2009 to 2011, where evidence indicated driver cell phone use. Of these fatal crashes, in 2011 only 52% were coded in the national data as involving cell phone use. Then, there could be “an unknown number of cases in which cell phone use involvement in crashes is impossible to determine. One example would be a driver reading an email or text message on a phone who dies in a crash without any witnesses.”
Texting and dying without a witness should be against the law. We demand the death penalty: Violators should be sent home immediately. In a car.
And we tip the hat to David Holzman.