Focus on the Road Not Your Phone

textingdriverThere are many potential distractions for drivers, so it is important to eliminate as many of these distractions as possible. Using a cell phone while driving is one such distraction. Putting the cell phone away allows drivers to keep their eyes and attention on the road, as well as their hands on the wheel. Cell phone use, especially texting, requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention. This means that during the process of sending a text, drivers are taking their eyes off the road, their hands off the steering wheel, and their attention off the road ahead of them. Talking on the phone may not require visual attention, but it does involve taking a hand off of the steering wheel and pulling the driver’s attention away from the road and to the conversation. Even if hands-free technology is used, drivers are focused more on the conversation being had than on the potential dangers on the road.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports on accidents involving cell phone use and the results are eye-opening.In 2011, there were 826,000 non-fatal accidents involving a distracted driver. Of these accidents 50,000 involved cell phone use. Each of these accidents resulted in property damage or injuries. It was estimated that 21,000 people were injured in accidents related to cell phone use. The age group with the highest percentage of distracted driving crashes involving cell phone use was 15 to 19 year-olds. Overall about 20% of teenagers admit to sending multiple text messages while on the road and 10% of parents admit the same. It is also reported that the average time a driver’s eyes are off the road when texting is about five seconds, which if driving at 55pmh is enough time to travel the length of a football field.

Being aware of the potential dangers created by using a cell phone while driving can help to deter the behavior. It is essential for drivers to keep their full attention on the road and put down their cell phones. If it is necessary, turning off the cell phone while in the car can help completely eliminate the urge to use it. If making a call or sending a text cannot be avoided, find a safe place to pull over before doing so. Putting down cell phones while driving can help drivers avoid potential accidents as well as potential injuries that may result.

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