It’s Not Just Texting While Driving Anymore
In 2012, the Institute of Advanced Motorists performed a study on the use of smartphones while driving. The end result showed that it is more dangerous to use a smartphone while driving than it is to drive with a legal amount of alcohol in your system or when under the influence of THC (marijuana).
This month, the IAM performed another study. This time they asked 500 drivers about their use of smartphones and tablets while driving. The study showed that 9 percent of people admitted to taking a selfie while driving in the last month, 8 percent said they used video calling apps, and 19 percent said they accessed and used the internet. Of those who admitted to taking selfies while driving, 5 percent were women, and 12 percent were men.
Results were also broken down into different age groups. Of those aged 18 to 24, 15 percent admitted to selfies, 16 percent admitted to video calling, 13 percent watch streaming videos and 27 percent accessed and used the internet. Those aged 25 to 35 proved even higher numbers: 19 percent have snapped pictures of themselves; 34 percent have watched streaming video, and 34 percent have browsed the internet.
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Why it matters
This study proves that distracted driving is becoming a major issue, and I suspect as time goes on it will get even worse. Our inability to put down the phone while driving has even led automakers to progressively add more and more integration between smartphones and on-board entertainment systems.
The new laws don’t seem to be working as well as they should – penalties for using a phone while driving dropped by 40 percent in 2014.
It has also been the cause of the increasing number of laws against distracted driving and the use of technology while driving. The new laws don’t seem to be working as well as they should – penalties for using a phone while driving dropped by 40 percent in 2014.
Just recently, New Hampshire, U.S. passed a law that bans the use of any hand-held device while driving – you can’t even pick up your phone unless you’re parked. Officials in the State of Minnesota claim that distracted driving has topped speed as the No. 1 cause of traffic fatalities within the state. The problem isn’t limited to the U.S. either. Cape Town in South Africa has a policy that allows police to confiscate devices used when driving. They have maintained an average of 3,155 confiscations a year over the last three years.
Bottom line: it’s time to put down the phone people. I know we are wired to communicate and programmed to share every moment of our lives, but don’t risk my life while you’re doing it. If you can’t wait to take that picture or send that text, pull it over. It only takes one ill-timed glance to change your life or the life of someone else forever. Technology is supposed to help us, not kill us off. Perhaps we should provide extremely harsh penalties before it is too late. What do you think?