We all know that we shouldn’t dial and drive, but sometimes it is just too tempting. In 2014, the National Safety Council’s Injury Facts Report found that cellphones are responsible or 26 percent of America’s car accidents. Texting was found to be behind five percent of crashes. In 2015, early reports showed that the number of deaths on the road were set to rise—and it was found that 27% percent of accidents were attributable to phone use.
According to the US Department of Transportation, this boils down to 1.6 million auto crashes per year, and this results in 500,000 injuries and 6,000 deaths.
While much of the trend in accidents last year was due to more people being on the road because of lower gas prices, distracted driving was certainly a named factor. And yes, dialing or texting on your phone counts as distracted driving.
AT&T say that according to their data, around 70 percent of respondents admit to using their cell phones while they drive. Most of these uses were texting incidents—61 percent of people say that they have written, sent, or read a text when they are at the wheel. That’s not all through; many respondents said that they write and read emails, post on Facebook, write Tweets, take pictures with Instagram, and snap pictures on Snapchat while they are supposed to be concentrating on the road.
What AT&T found that people do while they drive:
- 61% text
- 33% email
- 28% browse internet
- 27% Facebook
- 17% Selfie
- 14% Twitter
- 14% Instagram
- 12 % video
- 11% Snapchat
- 10% video chat
According to the National Safety Council, you are eight times more likely to crash your car if you are texting while you are driving it.
So why do we do it?
Habit. The number one reason that people gave for using their cell phones to dial or do other things while driving was due to habit. That’s the reason that AT&T launched the “It can wait” campaign five years ago.
How to break the habit
If you are feeling guilty reading this right now, don’t. The chances are that you are guilty of dialing or texting and driving, but so are the rest of us. Rather than lament, let’s change!
Recognize that you have got stuff to do, and that sometimes you are going to want to take a call while you are in the car—especially if you are due to be on an important conference call for work and you are stuck in traffic. The good news is that there are apps that will help you stay safe on the road.
Apps that help you drive more safely:
MobileDay: One-touch conference call dialing app means that you can join a call without dialing into it.
Canary: This app will tell you if your teen is texting while driving.
Drive Safe Mode: This app prevents texting and emailing while you are driving.
Live2Txt: Blocks incoming calls and texts when you are driving.
SafeDrive: Gamify staying safe behind the wheel—you earn points for not texting while driving.