Technology is a wonderful thing. When it is used properly it can really simplify our lives. I wrote a post about this a while back. Lately I have noticed a lot of articles and companies encouraging us to put away our phones while we are driving. I wanted to take a moment and share some of the stats about cell phone use while driving and why we need to take heed.
In an article posted here, the Washington State Department of Licensing stated that talking on your phone while driving (even if you are using a hands-free device) delays your reaction time as much as having a blood alcohol content of .08 percent. The article went on to state that texting while driving can slow down your reaction time the same as if your blood alcohol content level was twice the legal limit or .16 percent.
A Princeton Survey Research Associates International survey, 27% adults admitted to texting while driving and 26% of teen aged drivers said they have texted while driving. 61% adults admitted to talking on their cell phones while driving. The next stat is just scary, 17% of these adults admitted to being so distracted while driving and using their phone that they ran into an object or another person.
AT&T is currently running a great campaign called, "it can wait." I have seen a lot of my friends on Facebook taking their pledge to not text while driving. Some of the scary facts listed on their site is that those who send texts while driving are 23 times more likely to be in a crash. One point that I hadn't considered is that 90% of all teens expect a reply to a text within five minutes or less, which puts pressure on them to respond while driving.
The texting problem has caused some companies and parents to spring to action. Some cell phone companies now offer apps that prevent cell phone use while driving unless the phone has an active hands-free device being used. A local man was inspired to create an app after a distracted driver almost ran over his three year old daughter.
I know we all value the time saving features of today's technology... but we need to make sure we use it wisely. Please don't text while driving. If you have to talk on your phone while driving please use a hands-free device. If you have a teenager take the time to make sure they understand why they shouldn't be texting and driving. Show them the facts and help them understand what they mean. Please consider getting one of the apps for all of your family's phones.
It just isn't worth the risk, it can wait.
The bitterness of poor coverage lingers long after the sweet price is forgotten.
Joe Urvina is an insurance agent located in Gig Harbor, WA.