Texting while Driving is on the Rise!

On my way to work this past August, I was stopped at an intersection in Dublin, Ohio, and was approached by a bike patrol officer to put my window down. The officer handed me an educational brochure about distracted driving, which focused on cell phone use. The brochure is part of Dublin’s new campaign to reduce the number of traffic accidents by educating drivers about the effects of distracted driving.

After reading the brochure, I decided to do my own research on the effects of texting while driving. I was shocked to discover that just last year, 5,474 people died on U.S. roadways in accidents involving distracted driving. And 18 percent of these accidents involved the use of cell phones.

Despite such grave statistics, there is still not a statewide ban in Ohio against texting while driving. Only a number of municipalities and cities throughout Ohio, including Columbus, have banned it completely. According to Columbus Business First, this past May the Columbus City Council passed legislation that prohibits using mobile devices to compose, send, receive or read text messages while driving.

Unfortunately we all know that texting and driving has caused many accidents, including an astonishing 22 fatal ones in Ohio last year, yet one in four American adults are still guilty of it. One new study has found that adults are more likely than teens to talk on the phone while driving. The good news is that more and more states are taking steps to remedy this growing public safety concern. Around a dozen states have outlawed the use of cell phones on the road unless operated in a hands-free manner. And thirty states, including Kentucky and Indiana, enacted bans on texting while driving.

So after all the numbers, statistics, injuries and fatalities … it is sad to see that distracted driving is still increasing at an alarming rate. What can we do to stop this???

I recently came across an article that offered four tips on How to Stop Texting While Driving:

1. Put the cell phone out of reach, in the back seat. Or, turn it off.
2. Pull over. If it’s essential to read an incoming message, or send one, then resist the urge for instant gratification, and wait until it’s safe to pull over, do the texting–and then turn the cell phone off or throw it into the back seat, out of reach.
3. Don’t try to “save” the text messaging for a red light. Driving and text messaging aren’t compatible activities, so it’s better not to start down that slippery slope.
4. Instant technology creates its own sense of urgency but at the end of the day, most text messages probably can wait.

We all need to take this issue more seriously and realize that a text can wait. And remember, no text is worth a life!

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