As I drove into work today I found myself “hitting” the many redlights located along my route in suburbia Montgomery County. At those lights I enjoy watching people. I found myself intrigued as cars would go by and what the driver of the car was doing. Occasionally I saw the young lady adjusting her hair or lipstick. The gent checking out his look in his mirror. But what astonished me was the number of people I saw talking or texting on cell phones, an e-reader reading while he was driving, and an adult (I would assume the parent) allowing their young child in the front seat to hold a steering wheel while driving so she could text on her phone.
Quite frankly I was disgusted that we as a community are unable to wait to return that call or pull over to text that individual. We would rather risk our lives and the lives of others to “multitask” while driving.
Check out Joe’s story:
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 6,000 deaths and 500,000 injuries were attributable to distracted drivng in 2008. There are reports indicating that there are more than 270 million cell phone subscribers worldwide. This number has more than doubled from 10 years ago. The National Safety Council reported that 28 percent of traffic accidents are caused by people talking on cellphones or sending text messages. According to CTIA, the Wireless Association, an estimated 110 BILLION text messages were sent each month in 2008.
What is distracted driving? Simply put it’s any non-driving action that a person engages in while operating a vehicle. There are generally three types of distraction:
- Manual – taking your hand off the steering wheel.
- Visual – taking your eyes off the road.
- Cognitive – taking your mind off driving.
The sad fact to distracted driving is that teens are at most risk! Growing up in the 70s and 80s when a parent turned over a set a keys to the family car, they used to feel that this was a dangerous weapon. Now turning over the keys to a teen that has a cell phone can be a lethal combination.
What can you do?
- Be a good role model! Show responsible driving habits and behaviors starting when your kids are young.
- If you need to take a call, eat, or do something that requires your attention be taken away from driving…Pull Over.
- Talk to your teen drivers about the fact driving is a privilege.
- Set up a “House Rules” contract. Check out this link for a Parent-Teen Driving Contract.
Know there are times when things require your undivided attention and one of them is driving. Even the best multitasker can identify something that they need to focus on and complete.