Don't drive in-text-icated
The dangers of being distracted on the road
Studies show that smartphones are making us not as smart on the road.
In 2015, 463 people wre killed in distracted driving crashes in Texas and 3,000 more were seriously hurt
A study by AT&T states that nearly 4-in-10 smartphone users look at social media while driving and about 30 percent surf the net while driving.
The Texas Department of Transportation has begun its annual "Talk, Text, Crash" campaign this month, in hopes of stopping texting while driving and to decrease driving distractions. TxDOT reports that 1 in 5 traffic crashes happen because of "texting, talking and other distractions."
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, texting while driving:
- Impairs driving ability as much as drinking four beers.
- Increases crash risk by 23 times.
- Causes 1.6 million wrecks and 330,000 injuries each year.
- Accounts for 11 teen deaths every day.
Teens may even be aware of the danger, but in the teenage mind, the need to stay in touch often outweighs the need to stay safe.
"Kids who are learning to drive right now have grown up with smartphones and cell phones, so it seems natural to stay connected to their friends all the time," said Sam McCage, Ph.D., LMFT, LPC, manager of Behavioral Health Services at Cook Children's. "When teenagers don't respond immediately to texts, they might feel that they're being rude or will miss out on something important."
McCage said parents should talk to their kids about the dangers of being distracted on the road, but they should also be a good example for their children. Studies show that:
- 48 percent of young drivers have seen their parents drive while talking on the phone.
- 15 percent of young drivers have seen their parents text while driving.
- 48 percent of children ages 12-17 have been in a car while the driver was texting.
And for that extra measure of safety, mobile apps can block messages from being sent while your child is driving and there are devices which can stop all phone use while the vehicle is in motion.