The big push on distracted driving right now is obviously cell phones and text messages. There probably hasn't been a bigger distracted driving danger to motorists since the advent of the drive-thru.
Whether you are a worker who missed lunch is and is rushing to his next meeting with a hamburger in your lap; a parent of two toddlers trying to keep them in control while steering your car, or a teen or professional trying to send a quick text while driving at 55 mph, we have all been distracted drivers. Hopefully we've been lucky until today. But after today, we should count on more than luck.
Sign A Pledge
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. This is the time to make a promise to ourselves and our families. We will not drive distracted. We will stop text messaging while in the car. We will only use a hands-free phone device while driving (and, if you want to promise to not use the phone at all while driving, so much the better!). At a minimum, we will comply with our state's laws on cell phone use (click here to find out what Maryland's laws are). If you want a little boost, sign a petition. There are a million of them online, including one by Oprah (over 423,300 signatures!).
Don't stop at the pledge. The next time you are at a red light, watch the drivers next to you, and the drivers passing in front of you. When I count, there is an average of 22% who are illegally using their cell phones. Clearly, a law prohibiting specific types of cell phone use is not enough. We must make change by social pressure. As kids, informed by our teachers of the dangers of driving without seatbelts, we pestered our parents. Our parents now wear seatbelts. If it's true that most automobile accidents happen within a few miles of home, the lives we save could be our own.
Distracted Driving Statistics (courtesy EndDDD.org)
- 80% of collisions are caused at least in part by distracted driving
- Cell phone use is the cause of 18% of distracted driving deaths
- Drivers who talk on a cell phone are four times as likely to be involved in a crash
- Drivers who text are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash
- The Department of Transportation estimates that, in 2009, there were at least 5,474 deaths and 448,000 injuries involving distracted driving
- AutoWeek.com: List of good links to websites about distracted driving. See their phenomenal advertisements, too.
- Are car voice controls dangerous?
- Maryland Laws on Distracted Driving
- Virginia Distracted Drivers Will Likely Be Required to Give Up Texting
- Poll on types of distracted driving