Dangerous Distracted Driving: Cell Phones and Wrecks
Distracted Driving Background
In 2009 a teen was killed by a distracted driver while lawfully crossing the street in a designated crosswalk. Following the incident family and friends created “EndDD.org” a resource to spread awareness of how widespread the issue of driving while distracted really is.distracted driving.
The causes of distracted driving and those that participate in distracted driving are legion. Conscientious citizens, grandparents, criminals, politicians, ministers and everyone in between are all in some degree guilty of being distracted by others in the car, a cell phone, or the affairs of daily life. These distractions can have dangerous or deadly consequences for others who are sharing the road with these individuals.
Do you feel comfortable sharing the road with this driver? It doesn’t appear in the video that he is paying nearly enough attention to the road and the driver is being selfish. While operating a vehicle it is the driver’s responsibility as far as it depends on him to keep his passengers and the other vehicles on the road safe.
State laws are changing on cell phone use while driving and distracted driving.
Many states are beginning to see the deep danger of allowingdrivers to utilize cell phones, text, email or watch video while driving and are beginning to legislate against these activities. EndDD.org has a pledge that I would encourage you and your family to discuss and implement prior to family members getting behind the wheel. That text message will never again be as important as you decided it was when you took your eyes off the road and injured someone else or worse.
The program asks its students to speak up when they are a passenger in a vehicle when another individual is driving distracted. By speaking up this passenger can let the driver know that their behavior is not ok and could hurt someone else. One solution that is popular is to offer to share the responsibility of whatever is distracting the driver, or directly speaking to the driver about your misgivings.
Often we rationalize and give ourselves excuses such as: I can multi-task, or I am so busy right now that I have to pay attention to this. These are not valid reasons. EndDD.org asks individuals to commit to driving without sending text messages or reading text messages on their phone, calling prior to driving rather than during driving or pulling over to a safe location to use a phone. Our thinking about distracted driving should be even more broad and include choosing not to text those whom we know to be driving.
A simple form version of the Family Safe Driving Agreement can be found here. We encourage you if you are reading this post to print the form or come by our offices and we will print it for you, it is that important to us.
The Distracted Driving agreement asks that those who sign it commit to the following:
- Drive without text messages.
- Call ahead to let parents or friends know you are driving if they are expecting you.
- Pull over to a safe place to use your cell phone.
- Ask your passenger to keep you distraction free.
- Turn cell phone to vibrate before starting to drive.
- Commit to not calling or texting others that you know to be driving.
- When you see a distracted driver talking to them about it.
- Offer to help the driver with any distracting activities that may come up.
To summarize it may be easier than you think to become an advocate for not driving while distracted. Your advocacy may save your own life or the life of someone you care about.