Why does it seem like driving is scarier nowadays than it has ever been? While driverless cars may be the future, right now too many people drive like they’re already in one. And the fact that vehicles today are equipped with so many bells and whistles, the dashboard looks like an Airbus A380 passenger airliner. That alone can be a distraction. Add smartphones to the picture, with their ever-present pings and dings, distracting drivers with something that usually can wait; but, too often the compulsion to respond wins out and distracted driving follows.
It’s an astonishing statistic that one in four car accidents in the U.S. are caused by texting while driving. Each year, thousands of injuries are caused by texting while driving and government statistics show there is a 400 percent greater likelihood for an accident when texting while driving.
Smartphones are not the only culprits. Eating, reading and applying makeup raises the chance of an accident 2-3 times. Daydreaming, believe it or not, is responsible for over 60 percent of distracted driving accidents. And let’s not forget the distraction provided by kids and pets. Taking your eyes off the road for even five seconds increases the odds of an accident.
Laws to curb distracted driving are getting tougher, thankfully. There are over 35 states which ban cell phone use by drivers in the age group of 18-21. There are 45 states, Texas being one of them, banning text messaging for all drivers. While fines for texting while driving vary from state to state, Alaska fines texting while driving lawbreakers with a $10,000 ticket.
Let’s face it, taking your eyes off the road (not to mention your mind) for even a moment can be disastrous. When you’re behind the wheel, you have the responsibility for your life and others. It’s a task that requires your full attention. You have a choice, so don’t take the risk. Be a conscientious, safe driver and you’ll get to your destination just as fast. You will also have much lower auto insurance rates.