Keep Your Eyes on the Road: Put Down Your Phone

putdownyourphoneDistracted driving is often the cause of car accidents.  Using a cell phone is one of the more distracting activities for drivers. Texting requires manual, cognitive and visual attention.  This means drivers take their hands off of the wheel, their attention off of driving, and their eyes off of the road.  Answering a phone call also causes drivers to take their hands off of the wheel and their minds off of the road.  Even if hands-free technology is used, the driver’s focus shifts away from driving and instead his/her attention is on the conversation with the person on the other end of the call.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has compiled data on distracted driving and details about accidents involving cell phone use:

  • There were 826,000 non-fatal crashes involving a distracted driver in 2011.
  • Of these accidents – 50,000 involved cell phone use.
  • Each of these accidents resulted in injury or property damage.
  • It was estimated that 21,000 people were injured in accidents resulting from cell phone use.
  • Of the fatal accidents in the distraction-affected category, 385 people were killed in accidents in which at least one driver had been using his/her cell phone.
  • For the age group 15-19 years old, 21% of fatal crashes caused by distracted driving involved use of a cell phone.
  • About 20% of teenagers and 10% of parents admit to having multiple text message conversations while on the road.
  • The average time a driver’s eyes are off the road when texting is five seconds, which is enough time to cover the length of a football field if driving at 55mph.

Keeping the above information in mind, it is important to keep your full attention on the road while driving.  Make sure to leave you phone alone while driving.  If you feel it is necessary, you can turn off your phone while you’re in the car.  If you need to make a call or send a text message or email, find a safe place to pull over to do so.  Arriving at your destinations safely is the main priority when driving.  Disconnecting from your cell phone during your drives can help you avoid an accident as well as potential injuries.

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