Cell phones gained popularity in the 1990s to help us stay in contact with loved ones, work and friends. A cell phone by itself is a great instrument.
Some 15 years ago did you have a cell phone? Many of us didn’t. Until several years ago, none of us had ever heard of sending or receiving a text.
Now, most people use a cell phone and many of the cell phone users send and receive texts.
Back in the old days, the only distractions were radio, passengers, other drivers and things like that.
Now, one of the biggest distractions for drivers is the cell phone, especially texting.
This use has resulted in a significant increase in distracted driving, resulting in injury and loss of life. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in 2008 that driver distraction was the cause of 16 percent of all fatal crashes with 5,800 people killed and 21 percent of crashes resulting in an injury with 515,000 people injured.
Also, according to the American Automobile Association, nearly 50 percent of teens admit to texting while driving. Distracted driving endangers life and property and while the levels of injury and loss are unacceptable, many can be avoided.
There is not a national ban on texting or using a wireless phone while driving, but a number of states have passed laws banning texting or wireless phones or requiring hands-free use of wireless phones while driving. For more information on state laws, visit www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/cellphone_laws.html.
Parents must instruct young drivers not to use their wireless devices while driving. Before new drivers get their licenses, discuss the fact that taking their eyes off the road – even for a few seconds – could cost someone injury or even death.
Parents should also lead by example. Children learn from their parent’s behavior. If you don’t want your teen to text and drive, you shouldn’t either. If you do need to talk on the phone or send a text, pull over to a safe place.
Encourage your teen to do the same and make the road a safer place for everybody.
For more information, call or visit your local insurance agent.