Texting while driving increases the risk of a vehicle accident by 2,300 percent, according to national transportation experts, yet more and more people continue this dangerous practice.
The percentage of drivers who text messaged or used their mobile devices while driving went up dramatically, from 0.6 percent in 2009 to 0.9 percent to 2010, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In fact, more than 3,000 people died in vehicle accidents in 2010 due to drivers who were texting, using their cell phone or were otherwise distracted.
Distractions while driving include talking to other passengers, eating and changing the radio, but reading or writing text messages is especially dangerous. Other startling statistics include:
- Drivers using their smart phones or other devices are four times more likely to be in an accident and injure themselves or others.
- Driving while using a cell phone is like having a blood alcohol concentration level of .08 percent, the legal limit in most states.
- Using a cell phone while driving can reduce the brain activity needed for driving by 37 percent.
To help you break your cell phone habit while driving, experts recommend the following safety tips:
- Turn off your phone before driving, or store it somewhere out of reach.
- Ask a passenger to answer your calls or messages.
- If you have an urgent call you need to take, pull off the road and find a safe place to park before using your phone.
- Designate a copilot in your vehicle to help you use any electronics, your navigation system or the radio.
With vehicle accidents being the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, parents and guardians should talk about the dangers of distracted driving with their young drivers. Statistics show 16 percent of young drivers in fatal accidents were driving distracted.
To help reduce the risk of distracted driving in the family, parents should first set a good example by refusing to drive distracted. Other suggestions include:
- Make a commitment that no family member or friends will drive and use their cell phone of smart phone at the same time.
- Establish consequences for not following these rules and stick to them.
- Speak up and give a reminder of the rules if the driver is using a cell phone.
- Know your state’s cell phone laws and make sure your children know them, too.
For more on traffic safety, see the library of articles by Daytona Beach car accident attorney.