In the time it takes you to read this brief note, between 5 and 10 autos will crash because the driver was using a cell phone.
It’s not just the physical act of using your hands to take a call or, even worse, texting, that’s to blame. It’s also the fact that drivers become distracted when they focus on the phone.
That’s why, increasingly, research shows that even using a hands-free device doesn’t significantly reduce the chances of an accident.
Just because it’s legal to use a hands-free device doesn’t mean it’s safe. And you don’t need more evidence than statistics showing that cell-related accidents are going up, not down.
A common distraction problem is to miss traffic signals or fail to spot other road hazards, like a cyclist or an overtaking vehicle. Some reports suggest a cell phone can impair a driver’s ability as much as being drunk.
Sorry to have to tell you, there’s only one sure way to avoid this problem and that is to put your cell phone out of reach — either switching it off or putting it in the glove compartment (or even the trunk if you’re otherwise likely to be tempted).
You might find this tough to do at first. You need to develop the habit.
This would be great to take the pledge and drive cell-free and encourage others to do the same.
If you have teenagers in your orbit — through family, work or other connections — it’s even more important to get them to understand the risks they’re taking.
If they won’t listen, get them to visit the non-profit www.cellphonesafety.org. Or tell them that 1 million crashes were caused by cell phone distraction in 2013. It’s a shocking statistic we can do something about.