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A Focused Look at Distracted Driving

Because it does not involve a foreign substance, many drivers are under the impression that distracted driving is a far less egregious offense than drunk driving.  The facts show it is not.

At any given moment, nearly 700,000 American drivers are using a cell phone or some other form of handheld, electronic device.  This means that at any given moment, nearly 700,000 American drivers are 4 times more likely to get into a serious accident and injure themselves.  Much of this augmented risk is attributable a significant decrease in focus.  Driving while using reduces the amount of brain activity normally associated with driving by 37%.

The effects of distracted driving are even more pronounced for young drivers.  Of all fatal crashes involving drivers under the age of twenty-one, 11% were distracted at the time of the crash.  This unusually high figure seems proportionate to teen cell-phone use.  In a recent study, 25% of teens admitted to answering a text message at least once every time they driver.  Moreover, 20% reported having engaged in an extended, multi-message conversation while driving.

As with any serious social problem, great strides must be made to find a solution.  Legislation, though certainly a large step in the right direction, can only do so much.  The rest is left up to you.  Here are a few basic steps you can take to help curtail distracted driving.

  • Be smart.  Don’t text and drive.

  • Be courteous.  Care about your friends and family.  Don’t send a message or call them if you know they are driving.

  • Be in control.  Remember: it’s your phone.  You can take control by turning it off while driving.

  • Be an example.  Whether you are with friends or family, remember that people are watching you.  Make it a habit of not driving with your cell phone on.

If everyone elects to follow these simple tips, we will go a long way in improving driver safety.  Remember: it takes two to text.  Don’t put those you love at risk by enabling distracted driving.

 

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