If you text and drive, you’re 23 times more likely to have a car crash.
Our obsession with our smartphones while driving down the road is a serious distraction with the potential to harm or kill.
Why? Because texting while driving is a many-layered distraction. It distracts three ways:
- Visual; eyes are taken off the road
- Manual; hands are taken off the wheel
- Cognitive; the focus is on the smartphone
Some states are taking significant steps to minimize texting and driving incidents to combat this growing distraction, such as:
- paying heavy fines,
- have your license suspended,
- increase in insurance rates, or
- serving jail time.
Still, it’s better than the alternative; you or someone else could be injured and possibly die.
US Texting and Driving Laws
In the United States, texting and driving is banned for all drivers in 48 states plus the District of Columbia.
In Ohio, texting and driving is against the law. The law states no person shall drive a motor vehicle, trackless trolley, or streetcar on any street, highway, or property open to the public for vehicular traffic while using a handheld electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication.
According to the CDC, every day, about eight people in the United States are killed in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.1
Approximately 87 to 92% of the time, people texting and driving send messages to family members or close friends.
This means when you engage in texting and driving; you are endangering people’s lives to tell loved ones where you are and when you’ll be home. So not only is it against the law but are the texts so vital that they could not have waited?
Break the Habit
Do not text and drive.
Just like any bad habit, the urge to text can be conquered. For parents, it starts with leading by example. Try these techniques to stop texting while behind the wheel:
- Set up hands-free driving, if the vehicle has Bluetooth technology
- Accept the “DO NOT DISTURB WHILE DRIVING” setting if you have an iPhone
- Use a safe driving app (e.g., LifeSaver, AT&T DriveMode)
- Pullover and put the vehicle in park; this will help remind you that it can wait since this will delay destination arrivals
Texting and driving pose an increased danger to everyone on the road, not just the person sending the text or choosing a cutesy emoji. What is considered to “just take a second” could mean the last second of your life or someone else’s life. The bottom line is it’s not worth it. It CAN wait.
Take the Pledge to Never Drive Distracted
“I pledge always to drive distraction-free. I pledge never to allow my phone to endanger myself or others behind the wheel. I pledge to lead by example and spread the message. I pledge because I believe driving distraction-free can save lives and make the world a better place.”
Tim wants to remind you that texting isn’t the only way to be distracted. Other distractions include reading, applying makeup, brushing hair, shaving, eating food, or reaching into the back seat.
As you learned in driver’s education, keep your eyes on the road!