Georgia’s proposed House Bill 938 would prohibit sending or reading text messages while driving. If the bill is passed, offenders will incur a $50 to $100 fine and points will be assessed on their licenses. Anyone, who has an accident while texting, will receive a 90-day suspension of their driver’s license.
I just posted a news article about a young man who sustained serious injury because he was texting a friend while driving. Texting while driving increases a driver’s car crash risk by 23 times. As texting becomes more popular, it is becoming an increasing safety hazard.
Texting is not the only form of distracted driving, but it is one of the riskiest. Distracted driving is a term for anything that causes a driver to take his eyes and attention of the road. Examples include:
• Reaching for an object inside the vehicle (increases your crash risk by 9 times)
• Looking at an object or view outside the vehicle (increases crash risk by 3.7 times)
• Reading (increases crash risk by 3 times)
• Fixing hair, outing on make-up and other grooming (increases your crash risk by 3 times)
• Using a hand held GPS (increases crash risk by 3 times)
• Talking or listening on a hand-held cell phone (increases crash risk by 1.3 times)
• Tiredness and drowsiness (increases crash risk by 4 times)
Anytime a driver’s attention is not focused on driving, and accident can happen. Research shows that drivers who are texting or using a cell phone are just as impaired as drivers under the influence of alcohol. Distracted drivers drive slower, are slower to hit the brakes when necessary, and are slower to return to normal speed after braking. They also show 24% more variation in following distance than undistracted drivers.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 80% of crashes and 16% of highway deaths are the result of driver distraction of some type. A crash can be caused by something as simple as not noticing a stop sign, failing to slow for a construction warning, swerving just a little, or even sudden braking.
Like many of the actions that cause traffic accidents, driving while distracted can be avoided. To keep yourself and others safe, follow these tips:
• Remove unnecessary items and trash from your vehicle; secure all objects in the car.
• Adjust your mirrors and set temperature controls, radio station, and seat position before you start driving. If you need to change anything, pull over.
• Keep sunglasses, toll money or cards, garage passes, ID badges and other necessities within easy reach.
• Do not eat or drink while driving.
• Do not use a cell phone or other handheld device while driving.
Don’t think of pulling over to finish your lunch or make a call it as wasting time, but as an investment in your future. Those few minutes might save your life.