Cell phones are everywhere and have become not just an accessory but an outlet of pure fun and technological fascination! In the past three years, the connection people have to their phones has grown significantly by 77 percent since October-December 2006. Your phone follows you into the bathroom, it is the first thing to greet you in the morning, is the last thing to say goodnight to you, and you take it into the shower with you being careful to stick one arm out of the curtain and hold onto it because it’s: Just. That. Cool. Period. It is an extension of your hand; how in the world could you live without it? But then you remember that you have to leave the house and drive to other places…but that’s okay because it can just come with you…duh! I mean, it won’t do any harm plus you’ll be super duper careful with it, right? Two years later you are texting and driving like a pro! Yes, occasionally there might be the vulgar interactions with other drivers because you made a little boo-boo and drifted into their lane and yes, sometimes you don’t move at a green light because your girlfriends just have to know about those new shoes you are wearing in your brand new car (you could swear people have no manners because everyone is honking away at you while you are having a heartfelt conversation! Ugh, the nerve!).
On your way to work, driving at a modest 55 miles per hour on the interstate, you peek down for one second to read a short text: a smiley face and have no clue what happens (who ever does) but your car hits something and is spinning, only to be slammed into again and again by oncoming traffic and it’s not stopping; the pain, the horror, your life flashing before your eyes. You can not only see, but you can also feel yourself being forged into your own coffin and everything goes black.
Texting while driving is not something to take lightly. However, nobody trusts a voice of reason so let’s consult the statistics, shall we?:
Can you imagine driving through a full-length football field blind…at 55 miles per hour…blind? That would take 4.6 seconds which is the average amount of time it takes to read a text. On a daily basis, you see how distracting it already is driving with your full attention on the road (keeping your eyes on the car behind you, to your left, to your right, and the one right in front of you), now imagine amping that distraction 23 times–you might as well edit your will every time you drive your car. In fact, in addition to this, one is 8 times more susceptible to getting into a car crash with a 4 times increased fatality rate. In 2011 the number of people injured or killed as a cause of distracted driving was approximately 390, 300 and rose to 500,000 in 2012; that is a third of growth!
The Heartfelt Truth
Lives have ended because of this! There is no issue in leaving your phone turned off or on silent in your pocket or purse, under no circumstance has a phone been reported for running away from the owner because s/he refused to answer it. Just by making a simple call or listening to music, 40% of a driver’s attention is taken from the road according to a 2008 study conducted by the Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging at Carnegie Mellon University. So what would happen when one is required to read a text or e-mail: to look at, fully comprehend, and still be expected to reply? Be smart, don’t try to ‘multi-task’; you are driving, not trying to become a mathematician. Every time you operate a vehicle while distracted, you are not just harming yourself, but others too. You are harming a:
…Beloved 17-year-old daughter, Alex Brown**, who was killed when she crashed her truck on a rural road while on her way to school. She was texting at the time of the crash.
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… loved, 56-year-old father and husband, John Sligting**, who was killed when a teen driver talking on her cell phone rolled through a stop sign and into the path of his motorcycle.
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…young 12-year-old son, Joe**, whose mother was driving him to an after school activity when a young woman behind the wheel of a Hummer and talking on her cell phone ran a red light and slammed into their vehicle. Joe died the next day from his injuries.
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…cherished 5-year-old Xzavier Davis-Bilbo** who was crossing the street near his home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin when he was struck by a young woman who was texting while driving. Xzavier, who had dreams of becoming a football player when he grew up, was left paralyzed from the diaphragm down.
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…precious 2-year-old Calli Ann Murray** and her mother Ling who were walking home from a park just blocks from their home. As they crossed the street, a young driver texting on her cell phone struck Calli and Ling with her car. Calli was killed instantly, and Ling was critically injured.
**Photos and stories were all taken from Distraction.gov**
A Few Tips to Prevent Cell phone Use While Driving
1. Put your cell-phone in the trunk before driving, unless you have super stretchy arms, you won’t be able to get to it.
2. Download an app!
- DriveOff (Android): This app notices when a car goes over 10 miles per hour and shuts down all apps that could be attention consuming, halts all texts and calls, and puts a static screen on the phone!
- Canary (iOS and Android): This app gives parents a live stream their child’s driving and if they use their phone while driving over 12 miles per hour, if they go to an off limits area, and if their child disables the app.
3. Turn the phone off! (Whoa, that was a hard one to think of.)
They are all the victims of distracted driving. Loiselle Insurance Agency encourages drivers to be responsible by operating a vehicle without the assistance of a phone. Don’t become just a face or a memory. For more information regarding distracted driving, visit Distraction or Stop Texts Stop Wrecks. Have a safe Distracted Driving Awareness Month!