Please Don't Text And Drive
According to recent studies the number of accidents involving distracted drivers has increased significantly in recent years. Driver distraction causes accidents. Text messaging while driving is a huge distraction.Twice as dangerous as talking on the phone, it has been shown to pose the same risk as driving while intoxicated with a blood alcohol content of .08. In fact, some law enforcement agencies are considering it as having replaced the DUI as the most dangerous driving hazard.
Driving simulator experiments have shown that both teens and adults sped up, weaved across lanes and hit virtual pedestrians while texting and using MP3 players. Coupled with the fact that the typical teen sends approximately 750 text messages weekly (Neilson Study) this data is especially disturbing.
While loud music use to be feared as a distraction, the new concern is that with music at least eyes are on the road. When text messaging and driving this is not the case. The hard cold fact comes from studies at the Virginia Tech Driving Institute: A person text messaging while driving is 23 more times likely to have an accident.
States in the U.S. and other nations have varying laws for cell phone use with some prohibiting hand held devices totally. Other states treat cell phone use as part of a larger distracted driver issue. Thanks to the sharing of victim's and survivor's testimonials, pictures and videos state legislatures are taking concerns to heart. For a continually updated list of the laws from state to state go to the GHSA website.
With the passing of distracted driver laws to include specifically banning texting while driving legal implications must be considered. Although it may be difficult in a criminal court to implicate drivers in distracted driving charges it is not impossible. Charges of gross vehicular homicide have been filed.
In civil cases, the probability for implication is even greater. When texting is determined as the cause of a traffic related accident resulting in traumatic brain injuries and other bodily harm or worse there could be grounds for a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. It is a lose-lose situation with lives ruined or taken on both sides.
Arguments continue about what behaviors behind the wheel should be banned. Adjusting the radio, reading, applying make-up and eating are among behaviors considered to be distracting. But common sense rules. Texting while driving and reading are the most dangerous for one reason: the person takes their eyes off the road long enough for tragedy to strike.
According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control the number one cause of death for young people aged 16-19 has traditionally remained to be fatal car crashes. Teen and young adults aged 15-24 account for the largest percentage of vehicle crash injuries. (For current statistics go to the NCIPC website.)
Young people are not as adept at recognizing dangerous situations as adults. According to modern brain research the frontal lobe of the brain does not fully develop until around age 25. The frontal lobe is the part of the brain involved in predicting and decision making. Therefore teens and young adults under age 25 can be expected to be poorer at decision making, appropriate judgement and rational thinking; all important skills for personal safety.
According to the NCIPC Motor vehicle accidents are currently the second leading cause of Traumatic Brain Injuries following falls as the first. The brain "floats" within the skull and is protected by cerebral fluids. With most blows to the head these protective mechanisms cushion the brain against external forces, but if the head impacts with enough force these protective mechanisms are insufficient. If the head strikes an immovable object such as a dashboard or windshield the accelerating head stops abruptly on impact. Because it is "floating" the brain keeps on going in the direction the head was traveling and crashes against the inside of the skull.
Depending on the severity TBI can have a devastating effect on the victim and the entire family. The long-term effects of TBI can be categorized as cognitive, motor, memory and social- psychological disorders. Of all the symptoms and limitations associated with TBI social- psychological disorders will be the most difficult to tolerate and re-mediate. Unlike those with pre-birth disabilities the survivor can recall what life was like before the trauma.
a voice controlled app that allows you to call, send or respond to emails and text messages, or post to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter--all by voice
Taking Action Against Texting And Driving
The Impulse to respond to a text message is strong, especially for the teens. The best prevention against accidents from texting and driving is to turn off the phone. As adults it is important to be role models. Mute the sound or turn the cell phone off while driving. Model pulling over to do anything that is distracting to driving.
Some criticize using scare tactics but it is important to realize the damage and consequences of accidents involving negligence. Exposing teens and young adults to testimonies and true stories can be powerful deterrents. Driver education programs teach about the dangers of speed, DUI and other wreckless driving with true life videos.Those type of videos should also be used to demonstrate the dangers of texting and driving.Those who have students or work as teachers or other personnel in high school should make sure that texting and driving is being addressed.
Technology can offer solutions now with new applications being developed. GPS tracking devices can help parents control cell phone use for teens. Blue-tooth hands free devices can help keep both hands on the steering wheel which can be important when avoiding certain sudden situations in traffic. Speech command over touch screens such as with the new Siri on iPhone 4S allows spoken text to be sent to the name of the person spoken
Arguments over what should and should not be distracting to driving will continue as states and nations debate laws. As with anything, common sense and common sense solutions will be our best guarantee in avoiding the tragedies of auto crashes.
Following is an emotionally powerful video produced by AT&T in cooperation with those that lost loved ones and one victim of TBI due to accidents involving texting and driving.
copyright; rebeccamealey written for Hubpages.com
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