All it takes is a split second for a disaster to occur while driving. We look down for a split second, and something can instantly happen in front of us. One of the biggest current distractions is texting while driving.
Distracted Driving Is Dangerous
The popularity of mobile devices has had some unintended and even dangerous consequences. We now know that mobile communications are linked to a significant increase in distracted driving, resulting in injury and loss of life.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2010 driver distraction was the cause of 18 percent of all fatal crashes – with 3,092 people killed – and crashes resulting in an injury – with 416,000 people wounded.
Forty percent of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger, according to a Pew survey.
The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted.
Eleven percent of drivers aged 18 to 20 who were involved in an automobile accident and survived admitted they were sending or receiving texts when they crashed.
The State of Illinois currently has anti texting law that states “A person may not operate a motor vehicle on a roadway while using an electronic communication device to compose, send, or read an electronic message.”
What You Can Do
Give Clear Instructions – Give teen drivers simple, clear instructions not to use their wireless devices while driving. According to Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, the easiest way to say it is: “On the road, off the phone.” Before new drivers get their licenses, discuss the fact that taking their eyes off the road – even for a few seconds – could cost someone injury or even death.
Lead by Example – Children learn from their parent’s behavior. No one should text and drive. Be an example for your children and if you need to text or talk on the phone, pull over to a safe place.
If the worst case does happen, luckily there is personal auto insurance. Despite the urge to carry lower liability limits for younger drivers to save in premium costs, it is in parents’ best interest to carry higher liability limits to properly protect themselves and their children.