Next Stop: Putting the brakes on distracted driving
We’ve heard it before. A driver is out on the open road and as they travel towards their destination, the phone rings, text messages, and news alerts pop up on the phone…an immediate response is required, right? In the age of instant gratification at our fingertips, it can be tempting to “look away” for just a few seconds, what could possibly go wrong?
Let’s take a trip down distraction lane, where drivers are four times as likely to cause a crash while using their phones, which can lead to a fatal outcome. It is estimated that nearly 10% of all U.S. fatalities can be attributed to distracted driving. Out of all the distractions that can threaten your safety while driving; such as eating and drinking, grooming, adjusting the controls in your car; texting is considered to be the most dangerous. Texting requires visual, physical, and cognitive attention that impairs your mental awareness of how you’re driving.
Enforcing anti-texting laws and other types of distracted driving is a challenge for law enforcement. Oftentimes, drivers are not held accountable for their actions because it can be difficult to prove distracted driving, leading to over 1,000 injuries per day in the U.S. During the month of April, law enforcement across the U.S. will be ramping up their efforts to stop drivers who are talking, texting, or using their mobile and tablet devices in any capacity.
Distracted driving is borderless and a problem that affects people all over the world. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 30 countries have made it illegal to use a cell phone while driving. Many countries are developing new laws to deter distracted driving. For example, in Ireland, a driver could receive a maximum fine of 2,000 euros and up to three months in jail for a repeat texting-and-driving offense. In the Philippines, repeat offenders face the possibility of losing their driver’s license. These are just some of the efforts that are in place to help curb distracted driving.
As safety advocates increase their efforts to prevent distracted driving, we invite you to get in on the conversation and share information about what key initiatives are effective in your area. Please leave your comments below.