While cell phones have been around for three decades, the dangers of texting while driving have become more alarming in recent years. We’ve made cell phones an important part of our everyday lives, using them to make phone calls, text, play, send emails, establish face to face conversations, as GPS devices, as music devices, and so much more.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driver distraction caused 18 percent of all fatal crashes in 2010. Every time we use the cell phone while behind the wheel, we not only risk our own lives but also the lives of others. And while teenagers are more vulnerable to engage in distracting activities while driving (According to a survey, 11% of drivers 18-20 years old who were involved in a car accident admitted they were using their phones when the incident happened), everybody is vulnerable to being seduced by our cherished phones.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, 41 states and D.C. have completely banned texting and driving. The exceptions are Arizona, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina and South Dakota. This means our country has a long way to go in terms of text and driving laws.
The easiest way to avoid an accident is to prevent distractions. Keep these in mind:
- Turn off your phone. Getting messages, calls and notifications while driving can be very distracting. And even if you don’t act upon those alerts, you’ll still be wondering what it is about and be tempted to take a look.
- Stop to answer. If you must pick up the phone or answer an urgent message, pull over.
- Use your passengers. If you’re traveling with more people, ask one of them to read the messages or answer the phone for you.
- Know your state laws. This way you will have an extra incentive to keep distractions away.
- Nothing is worth an accident. Not even the best or worst of news. Everything can wait. We promise.
Texting while driving is not multitasking. It is an irresponsible activity that endangers your safety and the safety of others. Taking your eyes off the road, even for a split second, could be fatal. If you have teens at home that are just learning how to drive, show them the numbers, teach them consequences and lead by example.