Sent to us by Brandy Anderson.
Texting drivers are twenty-three times more likely to be involved in an accident than non-texting drivers. They recognize the danger, too: forty per cent of teens admit that they have been passengers in a car and felt at risk of a crash while the driver used a cell phone in a hazardous manner. Despite the risk, nearly fifty per cent of teenagers admit to texting while driving, and estimates report that one million people chat or text while driving each day.
This bad habit has tragic consequences. In 2010 alone, almost 3100 people were killed and 416,000 more were injured in motor vehicle accidents that were caused by a distracted driver.
One study by Car and Driver found that texting while driving impaired reaction times significantly more than driving while drunk. Society as a whole is aware of the risk of drinking and driving and collectively condemns that behavior. It’s astounding that attitudes regarding cell phone use while driving are so dramatically different.
Many still consider this habit to be acceptable regardless of the risk. Some are reluctant to admit the danger and claim that they have the ability to multitask and drive. However, a study by Carnegie Mellon University shows that simply listening to someone speak while driving reduces cognitive functions by thirty-seven per cent. Regardless of one’s claimed ability to multitask, the fact is clear: Driving performance is drastically impaired by using a cell phone.
One tragic case involved a teen girl in Alaska who fatally hit a man early on Easter Sunday in 2011. The investigation found the girl to be texting while driving and continued to text “OMG, OMG” while leaving the scene of the accident. After hearing news of this story, Jim Wojciehowski, a physician’s assistant in Alaska decided to do something to prevent tragedies like this from occurring in the future. He came up with an idea for a smartphone app that would eliminate phone distraction while driving.
He created Silent Driver, which works by blocking all incoming calls and texts when a user is moving faster than 10 mph. It also locks the phone so that the user can’t place a text or make a call while driving. The phone allows users to include three safe numbers, so if something happens while the user is moving, they can still call for help. Parents have the option to password protect the app on their teenager’s phone to ensure responsible driving, and they receive a notification if there is any attempt to disable it.
By reducing distractions from cell phones, drivers are free from the temptation to use their phones while operating a vehicle. Download Silent Driver for your phone and commit to driving safely. By focusing on the task of driving, you avoid a preventable accident and the risk of harming yourself or others. No text or call is worth risking your own or your loved ones’ lives.
Brandy is an MBA student at the University of Colorado Denver. She enjoys topics related to environmental issues, technology, business, and social responsibility. Click here for Brandy’s Twitter.