It’s early April, and our clinic just had its fifth “distracted driving” injury of the year. The history was familiar: a teenage driver, texting, ran a red light and “t-boned” our patient’s vehicle. Oh, and she was speeding, also. You know the school of thought: “I drive better when I’m texting/drinking/smoking/eating, but only if I go really fast!”
We’re not picking on teenagers, as the distracted driving epidemic knows no age limit. Drivers under 20 years of age are, however, the most likely group to engage in the activity. They’re the most likely to die in these crashes, as well, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The statistics are staggering. The National Safety Council relates 1.6 million cell phone-related accidents per year. 1 out of every 4 accidents are caused by texting! 3,166 people were killed by distracted driving in 2017, per the NHTSA. 3,166! In just the US alone. An epidemic, indeed.
Education is critical. Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) offer many resources in this regard, especially peer-to-peer interaction – frequently more consequential than hearing an adult “lecture.” As an adult, setting the example of never engaging in distracted driving is imperative, as well. If you don’t practice what you preach, your words will inevitably fall on deaf ears.
There are apps available to block texts while driving. DMV.org offers a review of Apps to Fight Distracted Driving.
And don’t disregard all the other forms of distracted driving: checking your GPS, browsing your music device or social media, applying makeup, etc. The list goes on.
Please just say no!