For all age groups, the increasingly leading cause of car accidents is driving while texting. The advancement in communications has come with a oversized price in terms of increased risk of being in an accident. Although mobile phones are now a common sight as we drive to our destinations, must we suffer the consequences of this new technology?
As most drivers know, keeping your eyes on the road is a basic rule of driving. Ignore this one rule for a fraction of a second and you could find yourself on the verge of a car accident almost instantaneously. That new text or calendar reminder isn’t as important as the safety of you and other drivers. The attention being given to the phone should instead be on the road 100% of the time.
This advice falls on some deaf ears however, because some drivers insist that they can somehow text messages without looking at their mobile phones. Although you might not be looking at your cell phone to text, some part of your brain is still involved in thinking about your messages, pressing keys, and even those funny little smiley faces.
The most offending age population that use mobile phones the most while driving is not surprisingly teenagers. This certainly isn’t a shocking statistic, since they are also the group that most easily adapts to new technology. Older drivers are most likely to refrain from using a mobile handset and talking while driving. Younger drivers just don’t have the driving experience to tell them that what they are doing is highly risky and dangerous. Although they know right from wrong and have no doubt been lectured to about texting and driving, many will still read a text message the instant their phone beeps.
Experts suggest that the parents should be “enforcers” of mobile phone use with their young and as such, are expected to instill proper road discipline to their children. Lecturing and simply speaking to your teen may not be enough though, so think about instituting consequences for breaking the “no texting while driving” rule. Extra chores, loss of phone use, loss of driving privileges even allowance deductions are all possible consequences. Children need to be taught the right thing, and if an adult does not follow the no-texting-while-driving rule, then their children will not be taught the simple and important rule either.
If you text while driving, you are 23 times more prone to car accidents than people who wait until they are at their destination to text. Virginia Tech Transportation Institute conducted a study to determine how long do drivers look or peak into their mobile phones while driving. The study concluded that drivers glance at their mobile phones very often while driving, as much as every 4 to 5 seconds. Obviously, this is more than ample time for an accident to take place. In fact, a crash can happen in only a second or two. There are multiple studies that show much the same data and arrive at the very same conclusions. And, as with other driving distractions such as reading a book and driving, this one is easy to fix. Setting the phone to silent and then checking messages only after you arrive at your destination safely is a great idea to stay safe. For those drivers who cannot resist checking the mobile phone even while on mute, putting the phone in the trunk of the car is a sure way to eliminate the temptation.
Mobile Texting & Our Laws
Only a handful of states have laws in force to restrict the use of cell phones while driving; but others have acted fast to mandate the use of a hands-free device when you want to speak and drive at the same time. Legally, most states have simply not caught up to the necessity of cell phone driving legislation, but there are bills pending before various legislatures and more are expected to pass in the next several years.
Many people remember the beginnings of the “Don’t Drink and Drive” movement in the 1980’s. Just 30 years ago, it was alright to have your last drink just moments before getting behind the wheel of a car to leave a party. Drinking and driving was one thing that people did not want to be associated with because it was now illegal and unacceptable. Driving while texting can have the same effect on you as drinking and driving; all it takes is more people to recognize just how dangerous it really is.
Even new technology that claims to make life easier has flaws, and you need to look at the advantages and disadvantages of its practical use.