One Text or Call could Wreck it All
April is National Distracted Driving Prevention Month. Although it is a little early there are some statistics that you should be aware of as you proceed into the next month. In 2009, 5,500 people in the U.S. were killed & almost half a million injured by distracted driving. The three descriptions of “distractions while driving” are Visual, when you take your eyes off the road; Manual, when you take your hands off the steering wheel; and Cognitive, when you take your mind off driving – ever showed up somewhere and wondered how you got there? When you text and drive you are committing all three distractions. Among those killed or injured in the crashes mentioned above, nearly 1,000 deaths and 24,000 injuries included cell phone use as the major distraction, and 18% of these crashes lead to fatalities.
Younger, inexperienced drivers under the age of 20 may be at highest risk because they have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes. However, they are not alone in the cause of distracted driving; of those drivers involved in fatal crashes (of the 2009 report) who were reportedly distracted, the 30- to 39-year-olds had the highest proportion of cell phone involvement. In American 8 states have laws prohibiting all drivers from using handheld phones while driving; 30 states have laws banning texting while driving; 11 state laws were enacted in 2010; and 0 is the number of states with laws prohibiting all cell phone use (handheld or hands-free) while driving. It is up to individuals to help each other with the epidemic of distracted driving.
I challenge you to put down your phone while driving; put it in your purse or in the glove box or in your pocket. Just make sure it’s not anywhere you can see it. And talk to your kids, coworkers, and friends about it. Explain the dangers of distracted driving; arm yourself and those you love with knowledge! You may think that a quick look down to read that Oh-so-important text won’t hurt anyone, but in that one second you look away from the road you are not paying attention to your driving, and that is a dangerous thing.