The Sobering Truth about Distracted Driving: Everything CAN wait
- “K” typed in a text message but unsent.
- “The happy song makes me HAPPY” posted on Facebook along with selfies.
- “Driving and facebooking is not safe! Haha” sent in a text after posting every 90 seconds.
What do these have in common? Death. Death caused by distracted driving while texting or posting to social media. The sad reality of these situations, like many others, is they could have been prevented.
The concept of defensive driving is taught in driver’s education courses and now, more than ever, it is vital. Why? Because about 660,000 drivers are attempting to use their cell phone while driving at any given time during the day. This is a very risky, dangerous, selfish behavior. Not only are you putting yourself in danger, you are also jeopardizing the safety of your passengers and the occupants of other vehicles. Seems obvious, but what is more important: life or nonurgent communication?
Distracted driving can encompass visual, manual and cognitive impairments. Texting attributes to all three: eyes off the road, hands off the wheel and focus off driving. Reading or sending a text message takes about 5 seconds. While traveling at 55 mph, those 5 seconds will take you the length of a football field! WOW! Essentially driving blindfolded voluntarily. Who in their right mind would do this? Sadly, lots of people! Why are we tying on our own blindfold? Consequently, in 2015 alone, deaths from distracted driving were 3,477 and injuries totaled 391,000.
All licensed drivers should get involved to help stop distracted driving. Cell phone use is highest among 16-24 year olds but people of all ages can lose sight of a driver’s responsibilities. Speak up! Lead by example. Make a change today! Don’t let one text, post or phone call be your last.
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Motor Vehicle Safety. 2017, [Cited December 29, 2017]. Available from https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/distracted_driving/index.html
2 Goad, J. (2014, June). 10 Grimly Ironic Texting-While-Driving Car Crashes. [Cited December 29, 2017] Available from https://thoughtcatalog.com/jim-goad/2014/06/10-grimly-ironic-texting-while-driving-car-crashes/
3 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Distracted Driving. [Cited December 29, 2017] Available from https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving