Fatal final words: Driver habits study shows most common texts before crash

ai texting and driving talking while  hands of young man on steering wheel
victorpr / 123RF Stock Photo
Every day distracted driving factors in more than eight fatalities and almost 1,200 injuries in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Texting while driving isn’t the only dangerous distraction, but a recent survey of drivers’ behind-the-wheel texts by AutoInsurance Center reveals why people continue to text and what they text about, including final messages before fatal crashes.

AutoInsurance Center surveyed 2,060 drivers about their in-car texting behaviors. The survey looked at generational differences, message importance, how frequently they sent texts while driving, most common messages, and more. The company also analyzed 21 final text messages sent before fatal crashes.

The most common reason cited by survey respondents for texting behind the wheel were pressure to quickly reply to someone they care about (26 percent), making plans (19 percent), not wanting to take too long to respond to messages (17 percent), and needing directions (15 percent). The remainder were boredom, pressure to respond to a work-related message, and loneliness.

When asked about the importance level of their texts sent while driving, only eight percent said the messages were very or extremely important. Otherwise, the messages were deemed somewhat important (39 percent), not particularly important (36 percent), and unimportant (18 percent). While the mix varied from millennials to baby boomers, message recipients were almost all the time family members or close friends, ranging from 87 to 92 percent. The rest were to colleagues or acquaintances.

texting while driving fatal final texts crashes asset

A decided minority of drivers self-reported that they always or usually send text messages when driving, ranging from six percent of millennials to three percent of Generation Xers, and no baby boomers. Just over 90 percent of baby boomers said they never text and drive, with no texting reported by Generation X and millennials 58 percent and 49 percent, respectively.

The AutoInsurance Center analysis of final text messages, the last messages sent before fatal crashes, found the three phrases most often included in the messages were “Driving drunk,” “I’ll be dead,” and “I love you.” The CDC’s report that approximately one-third of crash fatalities involve alcohol shows a dangerous combination driving, drinking, and texting.

texting while driving fatal final texts crashes asset 2

The AutoInsurance Center recommends that, in addition to never texting while driving ourselves, to let our families and friends know we would much rather have them reach their destinations safely than return messages they receive while they are driving.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Computing

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.
Cars

Tesla could show the electric pickup Elon Musk is dying to build in 2019

Tesla has started designing its long-promised pickup truck. The yet-unnamed model will come with dual-motor all-wheel drive and lots of torque, plus it will be able to park itself.
Mobile

Verizon begins RCS messaging rollout with the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL

What is RCS messaging? It's the successor to today's text messaging. It offers features like real-time audio, read receipts, and encryption, but adoption so far has been slow. Here's everything you need to know.
Cars

Waymo becomes the first company to charge for rides in self-driving cars

Waymo has launched a commercial ridesharing service using self-driving cars in the Phoenix area. It's the first U.S. company to generate revenue by putting passengers in autonomous cars. Waymo One is only available to a select group of…
News

World’s fastest electric race car to display at Petersen Museum

The Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak race car smashed the all-time record at the hill climb for which it was named. The all-electric VW record-holder will be on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles until February 1, 2019.
Product Review

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is a luxurious and quick SUV, but it's no road tripper

The roster of models challenging the Porsche Macan grows annually. The German firm updated its smallest, most affordable SUV with a new engine, more tech features, and subtle design tweaks to keep it looking fresh.
Cars

This freewheeling Army truck-turned-tiny home is a labor of love

Most tiny homes are models of efficiency but one British metal worker has redefined the idea, converting an old Army truck into a mobile tiny home that comes with a bed, a sofa, a shower, and a beer garden.
Cars

Take a friend stargazing at 202 mph in the 2019 McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren has introduced the 2019 720S Spider. As its name implies, it's a convertible variant of the 720S coupe. The company promises the Spider retains the coupe's dynamism and agility thanks in part to the widespread use of carbon fiber.
Cars

Gateway’s born-again Ford Bronco boasts classic style, 2018 muscle car power

Illinois-based Gateway Bronco has received a license from Ford to make brand-new examples of the first-generation Bronco. Every build starts with a Ford VIN and a donor vehicle, but Gateway upgrades every part of the car.
Cars

Bloodhound’s plan to build a 1,000-mph car has run out of gas

The Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC) project has officially shut down. The upside is you can now buy a 135,000-horsepower car powered by a jet engine and a cluster of rockets for $319,000.
Cars

2019 Ford Ranger saves fuel without sacrificing towing capacity

The 2019 Ford Ranger marks Ford's long-awaited return to the midsize truck segment, which has seen a resurgence lately. But will being late to the party make Ford's job more difficult?
Cars

Pininfarina Battista is a 1,900-horsepower, 250-mph electric supercar

The Pininfarina Battista will be the first production car from famed Italian design firm Pininfarina. Named after company founder Battista Pininfarina, it has a claimed 1,900 horsepower and a $2.5 million price tag.
Cars

Allegro.ai is helping Hyundai mine the artificial intelligence gold rush

In November 2018, Hyundai invested in a startup named Allegro.ai. We talked to the company's founder to learn more about what that means for consumers in the not-too-distant futures.