Driving is a privilege; not a right. It’s a privilege granted to anyone that demonstrate the knowledge and skills of obeying enacted laws in place for the safety of all drivers. But, sadly, due to a few drivers that chose to disobey or ignore these safety regulations, the lives of numerous innocent people are greatly affected. One of the major and leading causes of accidents is distracted driving, including texting while driving.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States, over 8 people are killed and 1,161 people are injured due to distracted driving every day. Nobody wants to be a statistic of this alarmingly increasing accident rate. But in today’s multitasking lifestyle, it is becoming next to impossible to concentrate on just one thing at a time. Distracted driving resulted in fatal accidents which took the lives of 3,477 people in 2015 alone. Distractions while driving occur in various forms; visual, manual and cognitive.
Visual distraction takes the driver’s eyes off the road. These include activities like looking at the GPS, stereo, DVD or any other electronic entertainment systems in the vehicle.
Manual distraction occurs when the driver takes one or both hands off the steering wheel for any reason including adjusting the seat belts of children, reaching for the wallet or purse, operating the GPS or trying to eat or drink while driving.
Cognitive distraction is when the driver’s mind is not focused on driving and the surroundings. Some examples are being preoccupied with a personal, family or work issue, talking to a passenger or listening to radio or stereo.
Texting while driving
Texting while driving is particularly dangerous because it involves all three of these distractions. While many states have enacted laws to prevent cell phone use while driving, no states have a complete ban on cell phone use for all drivers. Does that mean you can use your cellphone while driving? Absolutely not! What can you do to avoid phone use while driving?
- Provide new drivers with clear instructions prohibiting the use of any wireless devices while driving.
- Be an example for others. If you have to text or talk on the phone, pull over to a safe area and finish the call or text before you resume driving.
- Educate yourself and your family about the dangers of distracted driving and the toll it takes on other drivers because of your indiscretion.
While everyone agrees that the threats of distracted driving are real, not enough is being done to avoid this dangerous behavior. Technology and innovation are only as safe as we are. The cell phones don’t mute or turn themselves off because we are driving; it is our responsibility to silence them while behind the wheel. We do not have control on when or where we receive calls and/or texts, but we have the control over when and where to pick up that call or look at that text. Ultimately, having an enhanced sense of responsibility and awareness while driving is what can keep our roads safe and allow us all to live out our full lives.
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