The federal government reports that more than 3,000 people are killed on America’s roadways each year as a result of distracted driving. As you likely know, using your phone can result in a ticket if you are driving at the same time, and this is due to the fact that cell phones—whether used for talking or texting—are responsible for a large percentage of distracted driving accidents. Further, despite the fact that most adults are fully aware of the dangers of using a cell phone while driving, more than 70 percent of drivers report using their cell phone within the past month while driving—one in three say they do so on a regular basis.
As if texting and talking on cell phones, changing radio stations, adjusting a GPS, eating and drinking, talking to passengers and daydreaming do not equal an overwhelming amount of distractions for drivers, parents must also limit distractions from children. New studies suggest children can actually be a greater cause of distracted driving than cell phones—12 times more distracting. About 76 percent of the distraction associated with having children in the vehicle occurs when the driver—usually the parent—turns around to see what the children are doing in the back seat. Other child-associated distractions include assisting children with toys, food or drinks, and talking to a child.
Technology to Limit the Use of Technology?
Unfortunately, there are no magic bullets for parents who drive with children in the vehicle. The only way to reduce distractions for those who routinely drive with children is to have a set of strict rules the children must follow from the moment they climb into their car seats, and for parents to pull over when they need to assist a child or when a child is not behaving. There is, however, a technology which could effectively prevent many of the collisions caused by cell phone use, saving thousands of lives. Cell phone blocking apps and devices can allow drivers to keep their focus on the road and other drivers.
Cell phone blocking technology typically prohibits texts and phone calls while the vehicle is in motion, while more advanced systems can even track the driver’s speed, note sudden stops, and even block the vehicle’s audio features. Although these newer technologies are most often used by parents of teen drivers or by employers who have employees driving company vehicles, they can help all drivers avoid the temptation to use their cell phone while driving. While more than two-thirds of all drivers said they were aware of the risk of a cell-phone related crash, and felt they were at risk from other drivers using cell phones, only about 25 percent felt their own cell phone use was dangerous. Consider adding technology to the phone of every driver in your family which will alleviate the temptation to use a cell phone while driving just this once.