Every time you get behind the wheel, you put yourself at risk of getting into a car accident. No matter how good of a driver you are, the risk will always be there, resulting from the activity itself along with a number of other factors. There are multiple causes and distractions that contribute to motor vehicle accidents, such as texting, talking on the phone, drinking, eating, changing CDs, or using a navigation system. All those factors rank high in their involvement with fatalities and injuries on the road; however, the evidence suggests that cell phone use while driving is very different from other distractions. The distinction is in how often people perform those activities while driving, and this is precisely what puts cell phones on a far higher level of danger in comparison with anything else you could be doing on the road.
Ten percent of all drivers at any given time are talking on their cell phone. You are 4 times more likely to crash while using a cell phone, as opposed to not using a cell phone when you are driving, without any difference between hand-held and hands-free. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were over 30,000 fatal crashes on the road in 2012. Out of those, over 10,000 were reported to be the result of alcohol use, and only a little over 3,000 of those crashes were marked as cell phone using cases. The problem with that statistic is in the lack of honest testimonies from the drivers who were involved in those accidents.
Cellphone-related accidents are under-reported
There is no single report that would indicate exactly how many crashes occur due to cell phone use. We know it is a problem, we just don’t know how big this problem is. Many drivers are reluctant to state after the crash that they were using a cell phone at the time of accident. In addition, no “breathalyzer” exists to confirm that the driver was using a cell phone when the crash took place. Thus, statistics remain under-reported when it comes to the role of cell phones in car accidents.
When it comes to driving, multi-tasking is a myth
Driving and using a cell phone both involve a great deal of thought. For example, texting requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, making it the most alarming distraction of all. You cannot fully focus on driving while you are using a cell phone, just like you cannot give your undivided attention to a phone conversation when you are behind the wheel. It is crucial to remember that accidents mainly occur because of delayed braking or missed traffic signals. Moreover, the risk of running a red light and possibly crashing into someone is off the charts, every time you are on your cell.
On average, in 2012 every 16 seconds someone died and every 14 seconds someone got injured as a result of a motor vehicle crash. NHTSA reports say that texting while driving is 6 times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated, stating that majority of texting drivers are 16- to 24-year old. It’s never been safe on the road; but, with the majority of people using cell phones today, the odds of you getting into a car crash at least once in your lifetime are now greater than ever.
Any activity you are performing on your phone – whether it’s texting, using social media, surfing the web, or navigating playlists – distracts you, takes your attention away from the road, and gets you one step closer to disaster.
Lastly, you cannot rely on other drivers while you are driving since you cannot be sure that drivers next to you are not texting with their foot on the gas pedal. The only person you can influence is yourself. By not using a cell phone while driving, you make a significant contribution to your own safety as well as the safety of others.