Inthe past 10 years, texting and driving has become a major issue on U.S. roads.Even though 95% would agree that texting and driving is wrong, 71% of people admit to texting anddriving (It Can Wait). Distracteddriving is detrimental in today’s society; therefore, we need to apply somesafety features that will keep everyone protected at all times. There are manyhelpful solutions to this problem like apps and features for your car.
Textingwhile driving is a dangerous thing to do and can cause injury or death toyourself or others involved in crashes. Eventhough people know that texting and driving is dangerous, there are manyreasons why they do it. Distracteddriving is driving a vehicle while engaging in an activity that has thepotential to distract the driver from the task of driving (Dictionary.com).According to DMV.org, there are 3 types of distracted driving: visual, manual,and cognitive. Texting and driving became an issue starting in 2008, when smartphonesbecame more affordable and accessible (Full Coverage Auto Insurances).
Distracted driving is part of the driver’s education course offered by privateand public schools. Texting and driving falls under all 3 categories. It isvisual because you are looking at your phone instead of the road and the carsaround you. It is manual because you are typing messages instead of keepingyour hands on the wheel, ready to react to everything. It is cognitive becauseyou’re concentrating on the conservation you’re having instead of the situationin your driving environment. As of June 2017, 46 states, the District ofColumbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands banned texting anddriving (CDC).
When you or anyone you know is texting and driving, their eyesare taken off the road for 5 seconds, which if you’re driving at 55 mph is theequivalent of driving across a football field without looking at the road(Texting and Driving Safety). In an article from Knowledge Center, Washingtonwas the first state to put a ban on texting and driving in 2007. Four states(Arizona, Montana, Texas and Missouri) are the only states without bans ontexting and driving.
Texas and Missouri have a ban on texting and driving fornovice drivers. Arizona and Montanacurrently have no ban at all. However, Arizona’s ban on texting and drivingwill go into effect on July 1, 2018 (Knowledge Center.
org). Ina 2014 survey, 98% of drivers said that they knew of the dangers of textingwhile driving (CBS News). However, three-fourths of them admitted that theytext while driving (CBS News). Twenty-five percent of texting drivers say thatthey are capable of doing several things at once while driving (CBS News). Otherreasons people give are staying connected to family and friends, worry thatthey will miss something important or that it’s just become a habit. People aremore likely to text in the car when they are alone than they are withpassengers (Drive Safely). More than a quarter believe that their drivingperformance is not affected by them texting (CBS News).
Peoplemost at risk when texting and driving are drivers under the age of 20 (CDC). Teen girls are more likely to textwhile driving than teen boys (Full Coverage Auto Insurances). Teenage drivers have a 400% higherchance of being involved in a car crash while texting and driving than adults(IceBike).
Teens have the reaction time of a 70-year-old with distracted driving(Teen Driver Source). Texting while driving is six times more likely to causean accident than drunk driving. One mother lost her son to texting and driving.Her son, Gage Edwards overcorrected a curve, crossed the centerline, ran offthe left shoulder, and crashed into two trees. Edwards had to be airlifted to WakeForest Medical Center, where he later died.
He had suffered a severe headinjury (ABCnews.go.com). Wil Craig was another unfortunate victim of a textingand driving accident. His girlfriend was driving and was texting when theycrashed. When help arrived, Wil was pronounced dead at the scene and had to becut out of the windshield of the car.
Wil was in a coma for more than 8 weeksand was on life support for the first month. When he was brought to thehospital, he had traumatic brain injury, a collapsed lung, and broken ribs. Hewas told that he had a 4% chance of survival. The driver who was texting lostcontrol and crashed into a tree at 120 mph (Huffingtonpost.com). Driverswho text have a 35% decrease in reaction, are unable to stay in lanes, andcannot maintain a safe driving distance (Full Coverage Auto Insurances). Incomparison, drunk drivers have a twelve percent decrease in reaction time, areable to stay in their lane and can maintain a safe driving distance (FullCoverage Auto Insurances). Somesimple ways to prevent yourself and others from texting and driving is to handthe phone to someone else, pull off the road to respond to a text or email, orjust wait until you get to your destination or a rest stop to respond (911Driving).
Technology can also help. There are apps that can send a text that says you are driving at themoment and cars that have certain features that can allow drivers to focus onthe road to interact with phone calls and texts. AT’sDrive Mode app automatically sends replies to incoming texts that let othersknow that you’re driving.
When the app is opened, all of your incoming calls,texts, and emails are put on silent. However, it does let you receive or makecalls with up to five people, call 911, and access your music. Another helpfulapp, DriveSafe.ly will read your texts, emails and calls aloud so that you canfocus on driving or it lets you respond with your voice or respondsautomatically for you (Mashable.com).
Some cars have features that allowsdrivers to interact with their phones hands-free. Ford has a SYNC operatingsystem that can send texts dictated by the driver and also has a MyKey featurethat allows parents to block calls and texts when teenagers are driving. Italso includes a feature that reads incoming texts aloud (Huffingtonpost.com).
GeneralMotors has an eye-tracking technology that can detect when drivers look attheir phones (Huffingtonpost.com). In2015, BMW released plans for gesture control that allows drivers to take callsjust by pointing at the navigation screen (Huffingtonpost.com). Another usefulapp that can prevent texting and driving accidents is Cell Control, whichdisables the ability to text, email, surf the web, and use social media. Thisapp can be set up in just 3 steps.
You create an account online, download theapp, and put the DriveID behind the rearview mirror in your car. The DriveID isalso motion activated, so when you start driving, you and your passengers willbe protected from the phone’s distractions. DriveID is solar powered, so you willalways be protected when driving (Cellcontrol.com). Distractology101 is a simulation created by the University of Massachusetts.
A companytitled Arbella Insurance which takes place in a trailer that drives around tohigh schools that shows novice drivers the dangers of distracted driving andhas some of the major components of a car, the steering wheel, the brake pedal,the gas pedal, three large screens, and the side and rearview mirror screens. Distractology101 has toured for over 4 years and over 100 high schools have participated inthe simulation. Close to 10,000 drivers have completed the Distractology 101training, which consists of a forty-five minute instructional learningexperience behind the wheel and a twenty minute web reinforcement showing whatthe students learned.
A junior at Assabet Regional Technical High School saidthat “You always think it is not that hard, but it actually is very hard. Youonly have to look away for two seconds and you can crash” (Communityadvocate.com).A junior at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School hadthis to say about the simulation, “It teaches you that no matter what you’redoing, whatever distraction it is, it can get you into something very seriousand it shows you that you must keep your guard up even when it’s your right ofway” (WBSM.com).
Ifeel that all the above solutions should be mandatory, especially the apps. If youdownload one of the pre-mentioned apps, the app should automatically turn onthe feature that allows it to keep you from being distracted from social media,emails, and texts. A team of researchers at the HighwayLoss Data Institute found that there are no reductions in car collisions afterthe texting and driving laws took effect. The research team also found that inthree states, the number of texting and driving caused accidents increased (ABCnews.go.com).
Inclosing, texting and driving is someone that has a major effect on the lives ofus and the lives around us, but I believe that, if we all work together to educatethe young drivers of the world, we can make the world a safer place for peopleof all ages.