Texting and Driving:
Texting and driving. Seems like an obvious “no-no” these days with all of the ad campaigns we’ve become regularly acquainted with that expose the sometimes harsh realities of this national epidemic. Text messaging is one of the leading causes of distracted driving, which also includes talking on the phone, reaching for the phone, eating while driving, using a navigation system or adjusting the radio or MP3 player.
In 2012, distracted drivers accounted for 18 percent of all fatal crashes – with 3,328 people killed – and crashes resulting in an injury – 421,000 people wounded. Texting while driving is said to increase the likelihood of a crash by up to 23 times more likely, compared to drivers who stayed focused while driving. According to the National Safety Council, texting and driving cause an average of 160,000 accidents per year in the United States. Statistics like this one have caught the attention of lawmakers all over the country; so much that it is now illegal in 46 states for all drivers to text and drive.
Currently, 14 states prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones altogether. This is considered a primary enforcement law -meaning an officer may cite a driver for using a hand-held cell phone without any other traffic offense taking place. While most states do have some restriction on texting and driving, a majority do not have bans on talking on the phone as well. According to a 2012 report by the National Safety Council, drivers are much more likely to talk on a cell phone while driving, and for great lengths of time. Current bans are the right direction, but there is a lot of room for improving safety.
Smartphones and advancing technology are constant distractions in our daily lives. Phone companies like AT&T have started offering “drive mode” so that drivers aren’t distracted while driving. There are also voluntary pledges that have started to become more and more popular. Staying focused and aware is one of the most important things while driving. Assuming another driver’s actions is one of the biggest precursors to crash because a driver feels like they think another driver will do what they are thinking. Don’t risk someone else’s or your life for a text, call or notification.