You’ve heard it a thousand times—don’t text and drive. You’ve seen it on billboards and in commercials every day, but the reality is that it’s still one of the most fatal issues we’re dealing with today. While texting is a huge part of this, all distracted driving causes serious accidents.
Distracted driving is categorized as any activity that diverts the driver’s attention away from operating their vehicle. That’s a pretty wide umbrella—looking at your GPS, changing the radio station, talking to passengers, and of course texting are all considered distracted driving.
Cell phones are the leading cause of distracted driving accidents and car accident injuries in Alabama. A typical AL driver has a one-in-three chance of getting into a car crash involving injury or death without texting—a texting driver is 23 times more likely to get into a car crash.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that some 660,000 drivers nationwide are using their cell phones at any given time during daylight hours. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), however, there’s a serious problem of under-reporting cell phone use in auto accidents. Because of this, and because there isn’t a reliable method for determining how many distracted driving accidents involve cell phones, the problem is even more serious than it seems on paper.
The 2016 crash fatality rate for Alabama was actually higher than the national crash fatality rate in 2016—this is more than a nationwide problem, it’s a local and state problem. To make matters worse, the NSC says that hands-free technology is not necessarily safer, so just mounting your phone to the dash does not solve the problem. On the contrary, hands-free technology can give drivers a false sense of security. They feel like they’re being safer, but they’re just as distracted, and less likely to be careful because they feel safer.
The reality is, distracted driving is just that—driving while distracted, which puts you and anyone else in the car with you or on the road at risk. The part of the brain that processes moving images decreases by up to one third when talking on a phone, and that’s just talking. Drivers looking out of their windshields while talking on the phone can miss seeing up to 50% of what’s around them—it’s not just glancing at your phone that’s the risk, it’s being distracted in any way.
The fact is, distracted driving is a huge problem in our state and in our country, and texting is just part of it. Keeping your eyes on the road isn’t enough—distracting your mind while doing something as important as driving is a danger to you and everyone around you. It’s just not worth it.
If you want more information, or if you’ve been involved in a car accident, contact Wettermark Keith today.