Whether driving around town or on a long trip, it is easy for any of us to see others texting while driving. While you may know it is wrong, you may feel helpless in trying to reduce it. I disagree. Please speak to your kids, your spouse, your friends, and even your parents. Let them know the dangers.
Personally, I have done my best to teach my own children the dangers of cell phone use, but December 26th was a date that changed my opinions and taught my daughter that she is not that invincible teenager. For on that date, my daughter lost control of her vehicle on a turn causing damage to her vehicle and property damage to a homeowner. Luckily, she escaped without personal injury. The accident was caused by her use of a cell phone. Since that date, I have personally vowed to raise awareness of this extremely dangerous situation. A situation that is easily avoided, Put It Down!
Please take a few minutes to watch this video on the dangers of texting and driving from AT&T. Please share this with your loved ones! Please click here....
What am I doing about this??? To begin, I have developed the Safe Driving Contract, I encourage you to review with your young driver. Please click here...
Additionally, I have begun a billboard campaign to raise awareness. As you can imagine, I am very passionate in helping others become aware of the dangers of cell phone use while driving.
I am also supportive of needed statewide legislation for cell phone laws. In review of legislation across the nation, Pennsylvania has been very slow to enact any laws regarding cell phone use. The following links provided by the Insurance Institue of Highway Safety display state law enforcement:
The state of Pennsylvania currently has NO BANS in all three of the above categories.
I am pleased to report on June 8, 2011 that the State Senate passed legislation sponsored by State Senator Tommy Tomlinson (R-Bucks) and supported by Senator John Rafferty, Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee that would prohibit the use of handheld cell phones and texting while driving and set new guidelines for junior drivers.
Senate Bill 314 would impose a ban on handheld cell phones for all drivers, regardless of age. Hands-free cell phone use would still be permitted by drivers who do not have a learners permit or junior driver’s license. The bill would make it a primary offense for all drivers to text, email, browse the internet and instant message. SB 314 would make it a secondary offense to use a cell phone while driving – meaning the driver would have to first be pulled over for a primary offense.
This bill now heads to the State House of Representatives.
Some startling statistics gathered in 2009:
- In 2009, 5,474 people were killed in the U.S. because of accidents that involved distracted driving. Another 448,000 were injured.
- The under-20 age group had the highest percentage of distracted drivers; 16% of drivers under 20 years old involved in fatal crashes were distracted while driving.
- The 30- to 39-year-old age group had the highest percentage of cell phone use in fatal crashes.
- 48% of teens, ages 13-17 say they've been in a car while the driver was texting.
- 52% of 16- and 17-year-old teen drivers confess to making and answering cell phone calls on the road. 34% admit to text messaging while driving.
- Texting while driving is about 6 times more likely to result in an accident than driving while intoxicated.
- At any given time during daylight hours in 2008, more than 800,000 vehicles were driven by someone using a hand-held cell phone.
Please do your best to share the awareness of the dangers of texting and driving.
Your life depends upon it!