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 insantaniously. That new text or calendar reminder isn’t as important as the saftey of you and other drivers. The attention being given to the phone should instead be on the road 100% of the time.
There are those who scoff at this precautional advice and instead claim that they can send text messages without the need of looking at their mobile phones. Incredibly, some drivers MAY be able to indeed text without looking at the phone, but it is an undeniable fact that their brain is still involved in the process of pressing keys, numbers and hitting the Send button.
At the top of the list for mobile phone use when driving are teenagers. This certainly isn’t a shocking statistic, since they are also the group that most easily adapts to new technology. And at the other end of the age spectrum, older drivers are the least likely group to use mobile phones while operating a motor vehicle. Younger drivers just don’t have the driving experience to tell them that what they are doing is highly risky and dangerous. Although they may know that it is wrong, many of them will not wait to 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 privaledges 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 modile 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.
Laws Regarding Texting and Driving
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 trime. 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. After this movement it was no longer acceptable to have “just one last drink” before leaving a party. In the last three decades, there has been a culture shift once people realized the extent of the dangers of driving drunk, and with the help of legislation and new laws, driving drunk has become not only illegal, but a stigma that most people would not want to be associated with. Driving while texting can go down the same road as drinking and driving; we just need more people to realize how dangerous this 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.