Advances in technology have certainly made our lives easier and allows us to be more productive during the course of a day. But at what expense do we pay for these advances? Sometimes it is at the cost of a life. In 2008, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driver distraction was the cause of 5,800 deaths and 515,000 injures.
Only 30 states have banned the use of cell phones while driving. Some states require hands free devices to be used. Florida currently has no ban on the use of cell phones or texting while driving. Texting and driving has been equated to drinking and driving. It similarly impairs the driver’s abilities to react in a split second. Drivers tend to avert their eyes from the road for approximately 5 seconds at a time when they text. This is more than enough time for a serious accident to occur.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, many states include a category for cell phone/electronic equipment distraction on police accident report forms. Certain federal funding may not be assigned to states that don’t collect this data.
What can be done to help this critical situation? Lead by example. If you have teens, make sure you don’t text and drive. Pull over to the side of the road if it can’t wait. According to the National Safety Council, in 2009, an average of 10 teens a day died in automobile accidents. Have your teens watch the Public Service Announcements that show what it looks like to text, drive and crash. They may be cured from ever starting.