Decades ago the only distractions inside the car were other passengers talking and making noise. However, nowadays there are dozens of different distractions from cell phones, TVs, and lattes to kids, lipstick, and loud stereos. It’s no wonder there are now many laws on the books in most states that make talking on the phone illegal as you drive down the road. This has helped but there are still way too many accidents caused by drivers not watching what they’re doing as they cruise through traffic. This leads to many accidents caused by distracted drivers.
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Texting While Driving Is More Dangerous Than Talking On The Phone
While talking on the phone is a distraction, you can still see what you’re doing as you speak on the phone. On the other hand, texting makes it necessary to take your eyes off the road and look at the screen to read the texts and type them as well. This only takes just a split second of your attention span, but your eyes and brain also need an extra split second to readjust from the inside world to the outside world each time. If anything happens while you’re looking the other way, you’ll need an extra bit of time to hit the brakes or steer the wheel to avoid a collision. Statistics show that there has been a rise in the number of accidents that has correlated with the same rise in the number of text messages sent.
In fact, a recent survey done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that nearly 58% of all high school students text their friends while driving. Distractions while driving is estimated to cause the additional deaths of approximately 5,500 people per year in the US alone. But texting while driving isn’t the only cause of distractions, sneezing has also been blamed for hundreds of collisions each year as well. Accidents due to sneezing have been shown to increase during the winter months when colds and flu conditions are on the rise.
Due to the increase in accidents, many states have begun cracking down on texting the most. In the state of Washington, they’ve made the non-hands-free use of a cell phone a primary offense. That means a much higher fine and possible jail time for multiple offenses. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult for the law enforcement officers to see inside of many cars to enforce the laws. And it can also be hard to prove if the person denies the crime. The officer must actually see the phone to make the charge.
Adjusting Makeup Can Also Be A Serious Distraction
Another problem that takes just as much or more time away from driving is the application of makeup as women drive down the road. It actually takes longer to apply many eyeliners, and mascara than it does to make a text message so it can be more dangerous too. Add to that the proliferation of fast food drive-through restaurants and you’ve got the perfect storm for lots of accidents.
Legislatures are working to make the punishments strong enough to deter these actions without causing undue penalties for occasionally making a mistake. But the consequences of an accident are so grave that something really has to be done to impress upon people how serious the situation is. Maybe self-driving cars are the answer that we’re all waiting for, then people can get a few extra winks on the way to work and leave the driving to an AI instead.