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Distracted driving is at an all-time high

Written by Dr. Andrew Doan & Brooke Strickland on .

We’re connected to our phones all day and for many people, when they’re driving it is difficult to disconnect for the phone. Whether it’s checking email, chatting on Facebook, or using the Snapchat messaging app, or catching the next Pokémon, motorists are simply not putting their phones down when they drive.  In fact, distracted driving is at an all-time high because of cell phone addiction. A recent report out of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that in the first months of 2016, highway fatalities jumped a whopping 10.4% than the previous time frame a year ago. In October of this year, a recent crash in Florida showed that the passenger in one car was recording a Snapchat video as she traveled 115 mph before the car crashed. The collision killed five people. Another accident in Atlanta last year showed that the driver was using Snapchat before it crashed and seriously injured the other driver. (1) 

 

Vehicle manufacturers have tried to combat cell phone use while driving by creating software that connects to smartphones and allows drivers to place calls, send texts, and use apps without their hands. It is not yet clear if this type of software is helpful in reducing distraction or encourage people to use them more. The bottom line is: using your phone not only distracts the hands, but it also engages the mind, which makes drivers less aware of what is going around on the roads around them. 

How do you stop using your phone while driving? Here are some helpful tips. 

 

Tip #1: Put your phone away completely.
Turn off your phone and put it in the glovebox, in your purse, or somewhere else out of sight. If you know it’s not on and it’s not available for use, it can help reduce the need to check it while you drive. 

 

Tip #2: Download an app/program that encourages safe driving & blocks cell phone use.

Some apps can block cell phone features, including texting, while driving. Some of these apps include Drive Safe Mode, Live2Txt, SafeDrive, Cellcontrol, Drivemode, and Drivesafely.  

 

Excessive cell phone use is not just distracting, but it can be deadly if it’s used while driving. Checking your phone continuously in order not to “miss out” is never more important than the safety of yourself, your loved ones, or other people on the road around you. If you’re struggling with how to set boundaries for you or your children’s technology use, visit www.realbattle.org/resources/ for more information. 

 

  1. Boudette, Neal. “Biggest Spike in Traffic Deaths in 50 years? Blame Apps.” New York Times. November 15, 2016. Accessed online November 18, 2016. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/16/business/tech-distractions-blamed-for-rise-in-traffic-fatalities.html?ref=technology