I have been reading more stories recently about the epidemic of texting while driving and can honestly say it has impacted my behavior. On one hand, I heard about a woman who was texting while driving and flipped her car as she missed a turn in the road– fortunately she walked away from the accident but her car was totaled. On the other hand, not far from here, I read about a deadly highway crash that involved texting and driving. In that case, a 19 year old driver sent or received 11 texts in 11 minutes immediately before the crash. The driver sent a text immediately before he crashed into the back of a tractor-trailer beginning a chain collision. The pickup was rear-ended by a school bus which was rammed by a second bus. The 19 year old driver and one of the passengers of the school bus were both killed and 38 other people were injured.
A few facts about texting and driving:
Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55 mph, that's enough time to cover the length of a football field. (2009, VTTI)
20 percent of injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving. (2009, NHTSA)
49% of drivers with cell phones under the age of 35 send or read text messages while driving. (2011, Harris Poll)
85% of respondents who text while driving agree that texting while driving is a problem and 89% recognize that the behavior reduces reaction time. (Ad Council, 2011)
Distracted driving is the number one killer of American teens. Alcohol-related accidents among teens have dropped, but teenage traffic fatalities have remained unchanged because distracted driving is on the rise. (2007, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm Insurance Study and NHTSA Study)
Useful Tips to Stop Texting and Driving:
After hearing of these continued fatalities, I can honestly say it has modified my behavior and hope it will yours as well. I did find a few tips on ways to avoid the temptation to reach for that phone for just one more text. I hope you will find the tips useful.
Out of sight, out of mind. When you're in the car, put your phone where you can't get it. A place where you won't even be tempted to look for it. No phone. No texting.
Silence is golden. Turn those notifications off. The less you hear your phone, the less tempted you'll be to respond while you're driving.
Find your app. An app can help you stop texting and driving. Download your app and forget about it in the car.
Designate a texter. Borrow thumbs from a friend. Or lend yours to a friend. Passengers get the privilege of texting while in motion.