Happy National Distracted Driving Awareness Month to all! The danger of texting while driving has been a hot issue in the media for the past few years. There have been pushes from the media and law enforcement to stress its dangers. Do you remember the big push by Oprah Winfrey’s “No Phone Zone” pledge not to text while driving? (4) The latest push is the commercials that show what was being texted at the time of deadly or debilitating accidents. These touch a special place in all of us.
The media campaigns have shed some light on texting while driving dangers, but I was shocked to learn the statistics today. According to Rodney Stearns, President and Founder of Text No More, we lose 15 teens to texting while driving every day. That’s 450 per month, and 5,400 each year! This site lists many other texting while driving facts that served to shock me into texting submission. According to AAA foundation, texting while driving contributes to “16%” of all fatal crashes. (5)
We all know very well the dangers of drunk driving, but did you know that “By 2014 distracted driving deaths will pass drunk driving deaths.” (2) Distracted drivers are four times more likely to get into serious accidents. (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) Jeff Johnson is one person who is doing his part to encourage people to stop texting and driving using social media. He supports the AT&T campaign at www.itcanwait.org where people can sign a pledge to support this push of no texting while driving.
I will admit that I have been guilty in the past of texting while driving, but also joined the move and no longer practice in such a dangerous habit. I must admit that it is quite disturbing when I notice police officers, in their cruisers, texting while driving (or talking on their hand-held cell phones while driving…that’s a discussion for another day). It really does bother me as all drivers should have to follow the same road rules. Many states have made it against the law to text and drive. My state has made it a violation has since 2010! The fine for texting while driving ranges between $106 and $350 for each offense. Check your states Office of Highway Safety site to see what your fine will be if caught (1).
Since so many are dying and becoming injured due to this distraction, how can we get more people to stop this dangerous practice? The media is doing a great job, but it should not stop there. The conversation in the home should also stress the importance of driving undistracted. The questions that should always be answered in relation to texting are: Can it wait? And, is whatever I say worth my life or someone else’s? If the answers are yes and no, respectively, then no one should be texting while driving.Textnomore.com offers an app and incentives for signing up on their site, following directions, and pledging not to text and drive. Driving Text Answering Machine is another app worth checking out, that helps to prevent texting while driving.
No matter who gives you encouragement, it is imperative that we all act on the knowledge we have and cease texting while driving. Take the time to pull over. Say what you have to say before you leave from or when you get to or your destination. There are more drivers on the road which, alone, makes driving more precarious. Pass the word and encourage friends and especially teens, not to text and drive. Stress the fact that nothing as silly as ‘L-O-L’ is worth ‘D-E-A-T-H’.
The information in this article is to be used for informational purposes only. It is NOT to be used in place of, or in conjunction with, professional medical advice. Anyone with questions regarding this or other medical issues discussed on this site must consult their physician for further information and treatment.