Allowing any cell phone use while driving continues to contribute to the issue of inattentive driving. “Over the course of a decade, between 2004 and 2014, 121,432 accidents in Tennessee were a direct result of inattentive (or distracted) driving,” says David E. Gordon, P.C. Will banning all cell phone use across the nation put an end to distracted driving? No, but it would significantly decrease the number of fatal and non-fatal accidents. Most importantly, drivers must commit to becoming undistracted drivers.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), there are currently 46 states that ban texting while driving. Unfortunately, many drivers continue to drive knowing that they are breaking the law and may face a fine or worse, an accident. So, why do drivers continue to text and drive? It’s a habit and a deadly one. An alarming 90 percent of drivers surveyed admit to texting and driving even though they know it’s wrong. It’s all about the need to multi-task and thinking that it actually exists or is efficient.
Breaking the Habit, One Step at a Time
Ask an cellphone user to put down their smartphone for a brief moment and you’ll notice that many of them will struggle to ignore it. From the house to the car, we’re hooked on our technology; our lifeline to the world. Take it away and the withdrawal is all too real. Here are some ways you can become distraction-free on the road.
- Be a Role Model: Consider your children or your teenage driver. Would you want them to drive and text or do anything distracting? No, of course not. So, the change needs to begin with you. When you travel with your children, don’t answer the phone when it rings, not even at a stoplight. Urge your young passengers talk quietly and only ask for things when the car is not in motion. You can’t get rid of your passengers, but you can teach them how to be less of a distraction.
- Out of Sight: What’s your biggest distraction when driving? Chances are it’s your phone, but maybe you like to finish getting ready for work during rush hour (ie. applying makeup). Take all of your distractions and put them out of reach, like on a back seat, zipped up in a bag, or even in your trunk. Over time, you might forget about your phone or other distractions.
- Pledge: Some people succeed in overcoming bad habits by making themselves accountable. By pledging to drive without distractions, you are making a public commitment that you will be a safer, less distracted driver. Give it a try, it might just be the right habit-breaking move for you.
While there is no one solution suitable for every driver, it might take you awhile to break your distracted driving habit. The earlier you start, the safer you and others will be. Don’t delay, stop driving while distracted now.