Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions can endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety, but because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction.

 

A recent study in March by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed young American drivers are more likely to use their phones while driving, and students agree it is a common and dangerous problem. According to this report, 69 percent of American drivers had talked on their cell phones while driving in the last 30 days. It also found 31 percent of drivers admitted to reading, or sending text messages or emails while driving, with the most common texting offenders were between 18 and 24 years of age.

 

Did you know…?

 

  • 1,600,000 accidents per year have been blamed on texting (National Safety Council).
  • 330,000 injuries per year have been caused by texting while driving (Harvard Center for Risk Analysis Study).
  • 11 young adult deaths every day have been blamed on texting while driving (Institute for Highway Safety Fatality Facts).
  • For drivers under the age of 21 involved in fatal crashes, 19 percent of those distracted were distracted by the use of cellphones.
  • A driver who’s texting is 23 times more likely to be involved in a collision than non-texting drivers.  (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration).
  • Just the act of dialing a cell phone increases crash risk by three times.
  • Sending and receiving a text takes a driver’s eye from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent at 55 mph of driving the length of an entire football field, blind.
  • Texting while driving slows your brake reaction speed by 18 percent.
  • Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent.
  • Headset cellphone use is not substantially safer than hand-held use.

 

 

Tips to Stop…

 

  • Out of Sight, Out of Mind. When you are in the car, put your phone where you can’t get it. A place where you won’t even be tempted to look for it.

No phone = No texting.

  • Silence is Golden. Turn those notifications off. The less you hear your phone, the less tempted you will be to respond while you are driving.
  • Designate a Texter. Borrow thumbs from a friend or lend yours to a friend. Passengers get the privilege of texting while in motion.

 

If you still think you don’t want to wait…

Take out your cell phone and look at the last text you sent, and then ask yourself, “Would that text be worth dying for?”

If you are still unsure try this text and driving simulator:  [http://www.itcanwaitsimulator.org/]

Note:  The counseling office is located in Haas Commons, Building 73. Making an appointment to see the counselor on campus is easy! Just call the Wellness Center at 928.777.6653 and indicate that you would like to set an appointment with a counselor. Counseling Services is committed to helping you make the most out of your college career!

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