Everyone knows texting and driving is dangerous. It’s something we hear repeated every time we turn on the radio or pick up the phone. In spite of hearing it, however, thousands of people use their phones behind the wheel.
Let’s take a closer look at the harsh truth behind texting and driving.
Texting and Driving Kills
In 2017, distracted driving killed 3,166 people. This number counts every single distracted driving incident, not merely those caused by texting. However, the point remains the same. Distractions, like texting on your phone or fidgeting with the radio, kill. Unless we take drastic measures, people will continue to take the risk.
Just Once Is Too Much
How long does it take to read and respond to a text message? For most, it’s a mere five seconds. However, that’s five seconds your eyes are off the road. Five seconds where an animal or child can dart in your way. If you’re driving at 55 mph, that’s the equivalent of driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
Most people can’t walk five feet with their eyes closed. You’d bump into a tree or another person. Why would it be safe to drive that way? At any point on an average day, more than 660,000 drivers are using mobile devices behind the wheel. More than half a million opportunities exist for a driver, passenger or pedestrian to become a statistic.
In most states, texting behind the wheel is considered a primary offense. A law enforcement officer doesn’t have to wait until you do something wrong to pull you over for texting. Florida is the latest state to join these ranks. Sunshine State lawmakers implemented a rule that makes it illegal to use a phone in school and construction zones — unless you’re hands-free.
We need to teach driving students from the first moment they get behind the wheel that texting and driving is bad. Phones should be on silent or off while new drivers practice.
Consider apps that automatically block texts and calls while the car is in motion. You can also place the phone out of reach. If you’re worried putting your phone in the back seat isn’t enough to keep from texting, put it in the trunk where you won’t be tempted.
They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In this case, preventing people from texting behind the wheel could save thousands of lives. When you pick up a phone behind the wheel, you put yourself at risk of becoming a statistic. It’s up to you to make the right choice.
Distracted driving is an enormous problem. New cars come complete with comprehensive infotainment systems installed in the dash, adding another layer of distraction to the experience. Luckily, many systems come with hands-free call and text. If we can remove texting from the list of problems, we can save lives.
About the Author: Scott Huntington is a writer from Harrisburg, PA who covers all things tech and automotive. Check out his site offthethrottle.com or find him on Twitter @SMHuntington.