Distracted Driving

The Numbers

Would you be shocked to hear 23% of auto collisions involved distracted driving caused by cell phones? Or that in 2013 3,154 people were killed in distracted driving crashes? We certainly were.

Distracted driving is a technological epidemic that puts millions of drivers at risk for accidents every day. Accidents happen, but accidents caused by distracted driving are ultimately preventable.

The Cause

The constant advancements, convenience, and overall use of technology have a drastic impact on the total number of auto accidents. Generally speaking, we have become more and more connected to handheld smartphones and less and less connected to our surroundings.

goldfish distracted driving

The average human attention span in 2000, for instance, was 12 seconds; by 2013 it had dropped to only 8 seconds (1 second shorter than a goldfish!). That means many people won’t make it through this entire article without glancing at their phone, or if they aren’t already on their phone, leaving to use another app.

The Affected

AT&T surveyed over 2,000 Americans between the ages of 16-65 who own a smartphone and drive at least once a day. 61% of those surveyed admitted to texting while driving, and 33% said they check email while driving. These numbers are unsettling to say the least.

While there’s a large percentage of the older generation that doesn’t feel the need to use their phone while driving, there’s an even larger percentage that have to constantly use their phone for business. Receiving a call on the road is routine for many blue collar workers even though lawmakers have passed legislation that made it illegal. In order to legally talk on the phone while driving, it must be hands free, which means you must use Bluetooth.

baby using cell phone distracted driving

For the younger generation, as more and more teens obtain licenses, it’s going to be an uphill battle to keep them off their phones while on the road. A survey conducted by VoucherCloud.net found that most American children have a cell phone by the time they turn 7. Growing up with technology makes it that much harder to abstain from using your cell phone while driving.

Whether it’s a commercial or a real life experience, it’s important that we educate the youth about the dangers of distracted driving before it’s too late.

What’s Being Done?

AT&T has invested a lot of time and money into the “It Can Wait” ad campaign, which aims to encourage people of all ages to be more responsible behind the wheel. The enormous reach of the campaign and the message it conveys are influential, as 7.2 million people have pledged to keep their eyes on the road and not on their phone.

In addition, AT&T and others have developed apps that activate while driving so you can’t use your phone at speeds over 15mph. The app silences all incoming texts and even sends an auto-reply letting the sender know that you’re driving. If you disable the app while driving, it has the ability to send a text to your parents alerting them.

The “It Can Wait” campaign is led by the emotional video below.

Take Action

If you text while driving and find yourself being distracted behind the wheel, or if you know someone that texts and drives, take action. Download an app that disables your phone while you’re driving or ask your passengers to text for you. Risking your own life and the lives of others is not worth a text message.

If you refuse to isolate yourself from your phone while driving, use the resources available including Bluetooth, voice actions (Siri/Google Voice), and dashboard mounts to avoid glancing at your phone for even a second. If your excuse is that you use your phone for music, set a playlist before you take off or pull off to the side of the road to choose a song.

As a body shop, we’ve witnessed the aftermath of distracted driving and it’s not pretty. We ask that you encourage your family and friends to refrain from driving while distracted. Declaring a vehicle “totaled” because of a text message is the last thing we want to do.

Share this article on social media with the people you care about most to help spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving.