Most of us are aware that cell phone use by other drivers is a threat to our safety, yet a AAA Foundation survey found that 67% of drivers continue to use cell phones while driving despite knowing the danger. And, cell phones aren’t the only distraction. Distracted driving refers to any activity which takes our hands off the wheel, our eyes off the road, or our minds off the task of driving. Many people believe that distracted driving is a teen problem. However, more than 70% of the teens who have seen EndDD.org presentations say their parents drive distracted with them in the car. The truth is that drivers of all ages engage in distracted driving and we can all play a role in ending distracted driving. Distracted drivers on America’s roads cause about 3,000 deaths and about 400,000 injuries each year.
So how can we all do our part to save lives? It’s time to look at:
Drive distraction-free. It’s really not that difficult to know what to do to drive safer, but sometimes it is difficult to change our driving behaviors, especially the use of portable electronic devices. Habits may be difficult to change unless we have a plan and commit to driving safer.
Do Not Disturb while driving. Program autoreplies to texts and calls so others know you are not responding because you are driving. Cell phones and providers have several apps and programming options to reduce the temptation to drive distracted. For example, Apple’s “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature stops notifications and sends a preprogrammed autoreply to anyone who texts the driver while the vehicle is in motion. There are also: AT&T DriveMode®, Verizon Safely Go®, and Sprint Drive First®. Consider utilizing one of these options to stop notifications while you drive.
As a passenger help your driver drive distraction-free. Friends don’t let friends drive drunk or distracted. We have all been driven by drivers who were distracted. Yet sometimes we don’t say anything, hoping that nothing bad will happen, perhaps reluctant to criticize our drivers. As passengers we have an obligation to help our drivers drive safer and to suggest alternatives to distracted driving. We can be “designated texters,” read or send e-mails for our driver, operate GPS systems and make other suggestions so that our drivers can focus 100% on driving. Commit to helping our drivers driver safer.
What Have You Been Teaching Your Children About Distracted Driving? A recent study showed how often parents of 4-10 year-olds are driving distracted.
- >65% of middle and high school kids report their parents as regularly driving distracted.
- While about 35% of 16-18-year-olds text while driving…
- And >50% of 19–25-year-olds text while driving
- Teen involvement in DD crashes is 3x the rate of any other age group
- Today, teens are involved in more DD crashes than drunk driving crashes
“Do as I say, not as I do” is a risky way for parents to try to teach their children to be safe drivers-Be the Driver You Want Your Teen to Be
The vast majority of teens say that their parents often drive distracted. Our children learn from us-good and bad behaviors. Studies show that if a teen grows up in a household where parents drive distracted the teen will be 2-3 times more likely to also drive distracted. Our children are the most inexperienced of drivers and therefore the most vulnerable to driving distractions. Parents-be the driver that you want your teen to be and model safe distraction-free driving every time you drive. safe.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of on-the-job death. Employers can be leaders in reducing distracted driving. Talk to your employees about safe-driving habits and establish workplace cell phone policies.
- Make a public commitment to safe driving.
- Download a sample Cell Phone Policy that you can adapt for your workplace.
- Encourage employees to talk to their families about safe driving.
To find out more about how you can help or even host a presentation on Ending Distracted Driving, and to read this article in its entirety, click HERE.