The latest research from the National Transportation Safety Board indicates that distracted driving is on the rise. Car accidents caused by drivers who were texting, chatting, eating, smoking, or just generally not paying attention rose roughly four percent between 2005 and 2009. Many states have responded by banning text messaging while driving. An outright ban on the things that distract drivers is one approach to improving driver safety. Another approach involves educating drivers about the risks they are taking.
Reading or sending a text takes only a moment. That is a commonly held belief that allows many people to justify texting and driving. The truth is that a driver takes on average 4.6 seconds to perform this activity. If you are driving 55 miles per hour and you close your eyes for 4.6 seconds, you will have traveled more than 100 yards. For many distracted drivers, that 100 yards will include drifting onto the shoulder or another lane of traffic. The comparison between driving drunk and text messaging is hard to ignore.
The desire to stay connected has grown into an obsession for some. Every text message is not an emergency. Every tweet will not change your life. A serious car accident, on the other hand, is an emergency that will change your life. Staying connected during your drive is not worth your life or the life of the people who share the road with you. Protect yourself and your fellow driver by leaving your cell phone alone while you get to and from your destination.