I recently heard on the evening news that April is National Distracted Driving Awareness month. It really caught my ear as I had sent my college son a text just yesterday and his reply was, I am on my way to work! I could have dropped the phone (which is what I really need to do) as that means he text me while driving!! I hate to throw him under the bus, but......how many times have I told him don't ever text while driving. I really think I said something more emphatic than that, but obviously it did not sink in. It gives me a stomachache to think about teens (and adults who will admit to it) that are texting while driving., especially my own! Unfortunately, I know of a young girl who died as a result of this....... and there are countless stories in the news.
A new study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that distracted driving is the #1 cause of teen deaths. A different study done by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that using digital devices is the #1 cause of distracted driving. It does't take much to add these two studies together and realize that texting and driving could be a deadly combination. It is almost like this generation's version of drinking and driving! While they seem to be aware of the hazards of using alcohol and getting behind the wheel (they are using more designated drivers, cabs etc) they do not equate texting with being under the influence.
The NHTSA study stated that the average text takes our eyes off the road for five seconds which would allow a car traveling at 55 mph to travel the length of a football field. A texting driver is 23 times more likely to get into a crash than a non-texting driver. But teens and young adult drivers feel as if they can safely text while driving! As my kids like to tell me, we aren't stupid Mom', it's that whole invincible age.
Parents, educators and national safety campaigns are going to have to take this issue and make it a national safety campaign. There are not enough police to stop every driver who is texting, but there are enough parents to keep up the work and get the word out to every new driver on up, including ourselves. TEXTING and driving is not safe. It can kill you or someone else. Lets not just make it a day, week or month to observe. We all need to put down the phones while driving, 365 days a year, as nothing is that important!! I hope my own children are reading this as well.
That's your daily dose for today. We'll chat again tomorrow.