Stay Safe Behind the Wheel
In the United States, 88% of people 18 and older have a cell phone, and now phones are capable of text messaging, browsing the internet, gaming, and giving directions. People have become accustomed to using their phone as part of nearly everything they do, and while these advances have resulted in enhanced communication and convenience, some have also resulted in unanticipated consequences.
One consequence of heavy cell phone use is the problem of texting while driving. A government report on distracted driving indicates that a person who is texting while driving is twenty three times more likely to be involved in an accident than a person who is not texting. In fact, a text sent or received while driving takes a driver’s eyes away from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. At 55 miles per hour, that time equals the distance of a football field. Texting and driving has become such a problem that 39 states plus Washington, D.C., Guam, and the Virgin Islands have banned drivers from handheld phone use while behind the wheel.
Due to the drastic increase in phone-related accidents, a campaign by the National Highway Safety Administration and the Ad Council has helped raise awareness about the dangers of texting and driving. The Texting and Driving Prevention Campaign, called Stop the Texts Stop the Wrecks, uses public service advertisements to illustrate how dangerous texting behind the wheel can be. Through frightening statistics and attention-grabbing videos, audiences are alerted to the real risk associated with texting while driving.
In addition to highlighting the potential hazards of texting behind the wheel, the campaign also shares the following useful tips on how to prevent texting while driving:
- Out of sight, out of mind. Put your phone somewhere you can’t see or reach it.
- Silence is golden. Turn off tempting notifications.
- Designate a texter. Let a passenger do the communicating.
- Find an app. Some apps limit cell functions while driving.
Visit StoptheTextsStoptheWrecks.org for more information.
Written by Ashford University staff