Still not convinced of the dangers of texting or otherwise using a cell phone while driving, or do you know somebody who needs convincing? Putting the phone down while driving should be the norm, but there’s plenty of data on cell phone use while driving to indicate otherwise.
Cell phone use was responsible for about 14% of total fatal crashes every year between 2014 and 2018, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In motor vehicle crashes that resulted in injury, 8% were attributable to cell phone use.
Of the teen drivers (ages 15 to 19 years old) who were involved in fatal crashes, 11% were using cell phones. Contrast this with drivers age 20 to 29 and age 30 to 39, of whom 34% and 24% respectively were using their cell phones prior to a fatal crash.
Even if it appears that teen drivers are getting the message about phone use while driving, one study found that more than half of teens admitted to texting while driving, while another suggested that one in three teen drivers text while driving.
Would You Drive With Your Eyes Closed?
Texting is one form of distraction while driving. It diverts your eyes and your brain power from the road and what’s going on around you to your device. Distracted driving (which also includes other non-driving behaviors like eating and drinking, using a navigation system, chatting with passengers, or changing the radio station) killed nearly 3,000 people in 2018. In crashes that involved a distracted driver, 400,000 people were injured.
Sending or reading text messages is not a harmless distraction; it doubles your likelihood of causing a crash.
In fact, the average time it takes to read a text is five seconds. In this length of time, a car traveling at 55 miles per hour would cover the length of an entire football field. Can you really imagine driving that far — 360 feet — with your eyes off the road?
Changing Risky Behavior
Here’s how you can do your part to prevent crashes caused by
Obey the law: In Arizona, legislation took effect in 2019 that bans use of hand-held communication devices while driving. There are a number of hands-free ways to use your electronic device legally, but beyond that, there are important things that you can do to prevent texting and driving.
Make a personal policy: Just as you would any other important goal or resolution, determine to stop texting while you’re behind the wheel. If you need to, use your phone’s settings to prevent cell phone use while you’re driving, or keep your phone sealed in your purse or glove box when you’re driving.
Conduct any phone business prior to departure: If you need to pull up directions to your destination, do it before you get in the car or before you start the engine. If you have important email or texts to respond to, take care of that before driving. If there’s an urgent situation and you must use your phone, pull over.
Talk to your kids: Whether or not you have teen drivers in your home, openly discuss the importance of attentive, focused driving and the dangers of texting and driving. And even
Be an example: We all know our kids watch what we do, sometimes more than they listen to what we say. If your children observe that you don’t text while driving, they will learn to follow suit.
Drive defensively: Keep an eye out for and avoid distracted drivers. Learn how to scan the road and stay attentive to all that’s going on around your vehicle, so you can react quickly to any adverse circumstances.
Part of safe driving means putting the phone away. Get more safe driving tips when you take a Driver’s Education course from Stop and Go Driving School, and make sure your teen is equipped with all the knowledge they need to to protect themselves and others on the road. Contact us to learn more today.