Special Interest

Do NOT Text While Driving

Just in case you need a reminder...

People who text while driving are six times more likely to be involved in a car crash. To combat this problem, more and more states are adopting driving laws that require people to use hands-free devices in the car. Yet a new study shows that many drivers are still willing to take the risk, as ‘fear of missing out’ and separation anxiety keep them from abiding by the law.

In the U.S., mobile phone usage has been a factor in one quarter of all car collisions. However, actual crash risks vary based on the type of task being performed and the extent of its cognitive and physical demands on the driver. Talking on a mobile device increases crash risk by 2.2 times whereas texting increases risk by 6.1 times.

Observational studies have found that as many as 18 percent of drivers in high-income countries, and up to 31 percent in low- and middle-income countries, use their mobile devices while on the road, contributing to significantly reduced road safety. Despite laws prohibiting such behavior, mobile phone use while driving is expected to increase and so will fatalities.

Researchers found that drivers engage in self-regulation when deciding whether to use their phones while driving, which is a process through which individuals develop strategies to cope with environmental factors while maintaining a high level of performance. For ex- ample, many drivers make use of stops to initiate using their mobile device, and many are able to restrain themselves to using phones only while stopped at intersections with signals. Many other researchers have also noted that drivers usually restrict engagement in heavy traffic or along curved sections of both urban and rural roads.

If people aren't smart enough to drive without distracting themselves with their phones perhaps there should be a new technology that turns phones off and keeps them off when a car is moving. Better that than letting them endanger others.