Texting While Driving Is as Worse as Drinking and Driving
You may think differently but texting while driving is dangerous!
Improper use of cellphones can kill you! OK, now that I have your attention, allow me to rephrase this statement a bit. Improper use of cellphones can really kill you. I’m not talking about long term complications due to whatever radio waves is emitted. Instead, I’m talking about texting while driving. Although short message service (SMS) of phone companies has significantly made communication easier; mixing it with driving is detrimental to your existence.
Here are some statistics that might change your outlook on texting while you are driving:
- At 55 MPH, just looking at your phone for 5 seconds you've already travelled 300 yards – that the length of a football field.
- 18% of fatalities due to distracted driving can be attributed to drivers texting while behind the wheel
- Texting while one is driving can delay one’s reaction as much as having a blood alcohol at legal limit
- Many young drivers know it’s unsafe to text and drive. But what’s startling is that 30% still do it
- Almost 40% of teen drivers have been involved in near crashes because of SMS while driving.
- According to the study by Virginia Tech Driving Institute, drivers are 23% more likely to get into an accident when they text and drive.
- In 2011, the U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that as much as 1.6 million accidents a year are related to the use of cell phones.
- As much as 500,000 injuries and 6,000 deaths can be attributed to cellphone use while driving
Resist the urge to text when you're behind the wheel
Texting impairs the reaction time of drivers – that’s serious. Remember that you’re not the only on the road. There are pedestrians, other motorists and from time to time you may encounter livestock crossing (yes in some countries this is happens a lot). Anytime you fail to focus on the road and on driving, you increase your risk for accidents. So what do you do?
- Switch off your phone when driving
- Have someone else read and reply text messages for you
- Put your phone in an inaccessible place so you don’t get tempted to reach for it (nope, the glove compartment is not a good place)
- Get a text to speech software application for your phone. Do get the voice activated ones to prevent you from fumbling with your phone while driving.
What to do
Currently, 35 out of 50 states in the US have banned texting while driving. But this is just one measure to reduce the incidences of accidents and near misses. If you are a parent, here are some reminders and suggestions for you to consider:
- Install software apps for the phone that disable text messaging or even switching the phone off while driving. There are free apps for these. In fact some even have notifications when your teen tries to uninstall or disable this application.
- Constant reminders may easily turn into nagging, but hey, it is better that they know
- Don’t call or text your child to make sure they are not texting while driving if you know they are behind the wheel. That’s just counter-productive.
- Be an example. 48% of teen drivers have seen their parents use the phone while driving.
Technology is here to make our lives easier and more convenient. But this does not mean we can be careless with how we use these gadgets and devices. Driving requires attention and focus. Although many drivers have made this skill second nature, it is by no means a reason to be overconfident. Putting safety first is always a prudent action.