Cell Phones and Driving: A Dangerous Combination

By now, most of us should know that cell phones and driving simply don’t mix. The use of mobile devices for talking on the phone while driving or driving while texting creates dangerous conditions on the nation’s highways. In fact, the use of mobile devices and other distracted driving behaviors are directly responsible for 3,328 vehicle fatalities in the U.S. each year.

But despite the well-publicized dangers of cell phones and driving, the use of mobile phones while driving continues to rise. Since education is the best way to prevent distracted driving crashes, it’s important to understand the risks mobile devices pose and learn how you can help improve road safety.

The Risks of Cell Phones and Driving

Cell phones make our lives more convenient. But when they are used while driving, mobile devices present several different types of risks to the safety of drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

Driving while texting is considered to be one of the riskiest driving behaviors because it requires the driver to become visually, manually and mentally distracted. To view and send texts, drivers are forced to take their eyes off the road, their hands off the wheel and their minds away from driving decisions—limiting their ability to react and respond to road conditions and other vehicles.

Talking on the phone while driving also presents serious risks and challenges because it creates multiple distractions. Manual tasks such as reaching for a cell phone, dialing a phone number or answering a call make it three times more likely that the driver will be involved in an crash. Research shows that the use of headsets or hands-free devices when driving is not substantially safer than the use of handheld devices.

The bottom line is that the combination of cell phones and driving significantly increases the risk of injury or death. It is best to eliminate or limit phone calls while driving because it is a distraction.

Improving Safety Through Cell Phones and Driving Education

Although concerned citizens and policymakers are pursuing many avenues to reduce incidents of distracted driving, the most effective solution is to better educate drivers about the safety risks associated with cell phones and driving.

Anyone who travels on the nation’s highways is affected by drivers using mobile devices.. With that in mind, here are several things you can do to help combat the problem of distracted driving:

LEARN – Become educated about why it’s important to avoid the use of all electronic devices while driving.

COMMIT – Make a commitment to never text or use a mobile phone while operating a vehicle.

ENGAGE – Consider participating in Decide to Drive’s Social Chats or other campaigns to make people more aware of the risks related to cell phones and driving.