It’s national safety month at the National Safety Council and the fourth week of June is all about the dangers of cell phone use while driving. We’ve all heard that using a cell phone while driving is a bad idea, but you might not know about all the statistics and the real danger cell phones put us in – even the hands free ones we love so much.
An estimated 28% of all traffic crashes, or 1.6 million each year, are caused by drivers using cell phones and texting. Cell phone use has increased dramatically during the last 15 years and according to NHTSA, an estimated 11% of drivers are talking on cell phones at any point of the day.
Most drivers agree that texting while driving is a huge and obvious cause of car accidents, as it requires you to take your eyes of the road and focus on the screen and buttons of your cell phone. The same goes for hand held phones, as most people agree that when you use one hand to hold up your cell phone to your ear, that it makes you a bit more distracted than when driving without the cell phone. The government agrees with these two notions and even passed laws in some states making it illegal to text or talk on a hand held phone while driving.
But what about using a hands free phone to have a conversation while driving? Using something such as a bluetooth headpiece that lets you keep your hands free for driving?
Studies have proven that even these types of phone calls still distract the driver and cause inattention blindness. Inattention blindness is when a person’s brain is focused on more than one complex thing at once, such as driving and trying to maintain a conversation, and filters out some information due to overload.
What this means for you as a driver is that because you are distracted with the conversation, you might filter out important details such as streets signs, stop light, and even pedestrians crossing the street.
However, having a conversation with a person that is sitting right next to you is proven to reduce the amount of accident by 38% as adult passengers share awareness of the driving situation and will alert you when you’re about to do something like run a stop light.
To stay safe this summer, its important to do the following:
- Silence your phone before you begin your drive
- Stop texting while driving. Research shows drivers who text are 8 to 23 times more likely to be involved in a collision
- Pull over and park if a call is absolutely necessary
- Encourage your friends and family to refrain from texting and talking on the phone while driving
Check out the White Paper study of why even hands free cell phone use is a huge threat to your safety by clicking here.
Learn more about the National Safety Council’s Teen Driving Safety Week.