Modern technology has enabled people to communicate in new ways. Cell phones, texting, Internet Messaging, and chatting are familiar terms for the newest generation. According to a Pew Internet survey, 82% of all U.S. adult citizens own a cell phone and use it on a regular basis. Text messaging is not just for kids as the study showed that 58% of adults regularly use their cell phones for the purpose of texting. Hands free models enable consumers to wear a head set or a Bluetooth device that enables them to hold a conversation over a cell phone without needing to hold the headset in your hands. When adults or teens use cell phones while driving they become distracted and lose the ability to focus on the road. According to studies conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. There were 5,870 fatalities and at least 515,000 people injured in motor accidents during 2008 that were attributed to distracted driving.
The Dangers of Driving and Using Cell Phones
According to the government site Distraction.gov, motorists that text and drive are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash than those who choose to put the cell phone down. Though the phrase “distracted driving” is often thought of as a synonym for texting and driving, distracted driving involves more than just texting. Driving requires focus and anything that takes a motorist’s attention away from concentrating on the road is a distraction. Mounted DVD players, music, eating, drinking, talking to passengers, and using a hands free mobile device while driving can cause a driver to lose focus and become distracted. This can result in accidents that may lead to serious injuries and even fatalities. As the problem of distracted driving continues to grow, states have enacted laws to prevent accidents from occurring. Each state has its own laws regarding distracted driving. These often monitor activities such as texting and using a cell phone while behind the wall.
- Distracted Driving: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration site for distracted driving.
- Distracted Driving: OSHA publication regarding distracted driving.
- Distracted Driving Major Problem: Medline Plus discusses the dangers of distracted driving. U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces Final Rule That Bans Hand-Held Cell Phone Use by Drivers of Buses and Large Trucks: Department of Transportation report on cell phone use by motorists.
- Distracted Driving: CDC examines distracted driving.
- Cell Phone and Texting Laws by state: Governors Highway Safety Association discusses cell laws by state.
- Presidential Proclamation: President Obama declares November as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.
- Take Action to Stop Distracted Driving: Minnesota Department of Public Safety discusses distracted driving.
- Distracted Driving Information: Illinois State Police focus on distracted driving.
- Distracted Driving: Indiana government discusses the dangers of distracted driving.
Distracted Driving Safety Tips
There are several steps that motorists may take to help reduce the likelihood of an accident due to distracted driving. It is recommended that motorists not use the cell phone while driving. When starting your vehicle, ensure that your cell phone is on vibrate mode or turned off. For those who use their cell phones for business purposes, consider changing your voicemail message to let clients know your phone is off while driving. If you keep your phone on in case of emergencies and must take a call, then pull over your vehicle and speak while parked and not driving. Keep in mind that switching to a hands free cell phone does not indicate a safer alternative. The safest choice is not to use the phone while driving. By ensuring you remain focused while driving you can reduce your accident risk and have the peace of mind that you are taking steps to remain safe while behind the wheel.
- Distracted Driving Prevention: Kings County gov discusses distracted driving in Washington.
- Distracted Driving Prevention Tips: Loyola University Health System shares distracted driving resources.
- Safe Driving Tips and Information: Wayne State University looks at safety tips for drivers.
- Leading the Fight Against Distracted Driving: Northwestern University shares resources for those fighting against distracted driving.
- Environmental Health and Safety: Distracted driving resources from Stony Brook University.
- Put it Down Distracted Driving Campaign: University of Miami and FDOT join forces in distracted driving campaign.
- Distracted Driving: Review of needs and strategies in the fight against distracted driving from George Mason University.
- Transportation Safety and Health: Cell Phones and distractions, resources from the Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology.
- Distracted Driver Safety: Resources from the Technical Clearinghouse for Auto Clubs regarding distracted driving.
- Dangerous Distracted Driving: Tips from New Mexico Tech regarding driving while using mobile devices.