Let’s talk about distracted driving. We know what you are thinking right now – “Me? I’m a responsible driver!” and we’re sure that you are. But distracted driving is something we all do and sometimes we don’t even realize. Have you ever changed stations on the radio while driving? Glanced at the GPS to make sure you took the right exit? Refreshed your makeup? Turned around for just a split second to look at your other passengers? If you have, then you have been driving while distracted.
And, let’s be honest here. How many times have you picked up a super important call while driving, checked your emails or sent a text message while being behind the wheel?
Unfortunately, studies show that almost every driver has been engaged in one or more of these activities while driving, and distracted driving is now an epidemic in the western world that’s taking its toll on human life daily.
The U.S. Department of Transportation defines distracted driving as “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.”
It seems like we all know the high risks of not paying full attention to the road ahead, but surveys show an alarming reality –EverQuote fielded a national online survey to 2,300 licensed American drivers on their driving habits in 2016. 96% of the survey respondents said he or she is a safe driver, but 56% of the same group admitted to using the phone while driving. This statistic means that each day in the United States, over 8 people are killed and 1,161 injured in crashes that are reported involving a distracted driver.
Nowadays, many companies are working hard on developing apps and other tools that are meant to help us reach our destination faster by making traveling and commuting easier. We all have the latest GPS app on our smartphones, music apps, news apps, and of course, social network apps to keep us updated. These distractions are all one glance and reach away, which could be the difference between getting to our destination safely and having a car accident.
While texting and emails are still the most prevalent smartphone-related driver distractions, can you guess what’s posing the next biggest danger? If you guessed social media, you’re right! In fact, 4 out of 10 smartphone users engage with social media via their phones while driving. Almost 3 out of 10 drivers surf the internet, and 1 out of 10 engage in video chat. Please remember, driving is not the time to practice multitasking. Our online and offline lives need to take a backseat to driving until we reach our destination safely.
It’s no wonder then that this ever-growing life-endangering phenomenon of distracted driving has spurred a national movement in the United States. Over recent years, the U.S. government, as well as a number of organizations and groups and other countries around the world have joined together to raise public awareness about the dangers of driving while distracted. Many campaigns have been created, aimed at combating and preventing fatal car accidents caused by distracted drivers. The campaigns also provide resources to help parents teach their teenage children about the consequences of being distracted while behind the wheel and encourage states to adopt and uphold laws that ban texting and/or handheld cellphone use while driving.
Five years ago, AT&T joined the very important task of educating people and young drivers about the importance of staying focused while driving with its “It Can Wait” campaign. Teaming up with Twitter, it has since increased drivers’ awareness specifically about the dangers of cell phone use while driving. So far, more than 6 million people have pledged to no longer text and drive.
The common message in all of these campaigns is that road safety starts with each of us. It’s a conscious decision to not let ourselves get distracted while driving. Just as putting on our seatbelt is instinctive, so should be putting away our smartphones – and any other temptation that may distract us while driving.
We at HearMeOut are fully committed to this important mission, and we are working hard on developing our technology, which allows users to connect to their social feeds completely hands-free while on the go. Plus, we are currently working with top car manufacturers to implement our platform as part of the multimedia systems in various vehicles. Safety always comes first, and we will keep on with our efforts to help combat distracted driving.
How do you keep yourself from getting distracted while driving? Share your ideas with us in a HearMeOut post!
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