The use of cell phones while driving has become the most pervasive form of distracted driving. Despite the fact that cell phone use causes over a million accidents every year and people recognize the dangers of using mobile phones while driving, most people still do it. But whether it’s responding to a text, checking a map, going through applications on your phone, looking at social media, finding the right song, or something else, using your phone while driving is never a good idea and puts other motorists and your passengers at risk of serious injury or death. While it might just take a second or two, it can have life-altering consequences for you and any passengers in your car, other drivers, or pedestrians. As personal injury lawyers, this is something we’re all too familiar with in our representation of clients.
We know that the temptation is there, but when you’re behind the wheel of a vehicle, you need to have total focus on the road and the task at hand. Here, we’ll be going over some distracted driving facts to help you better understand the risks of distracted driving, along with some tips and strategies to help you put down the phone while driving.
Distracted Driving Facts
You probably know that distracted driving is dangerous, but you might not know just how dangerous it is or how many accidents could have been prevented just by putting the phone down. Some of the most concerning distracted driving facts come from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA). The NHTSA estimates that over 29,000 people have died in crashes involving distracted driving since 2012, and cell phone use was a distraction in 13% of these crashes. They identify that using a phone while driving is the most dangerous form of distracted driving because it is a visual, manual, and cognitive distraction.
Of course, the NHTSA is not the only place you can find distracted driving facts. Let’s take a look at some more specific to Colorado. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) identified 10,166 crashes involving a distracted driver in 2020 alone, and these crashes resulted in 1,476 injuries and 68 deaths. Perhaps the most startling of the distracted driving facts that can be found on their website is the fact that over 90% of drivers in Colorado have self-reported driving distracted.
These distracted driving facts should illustrate how serious the problem is and why it’s important to resist the temptation of being on your phone when you’re behind the wheel.
How to Put the Phone Down
Knowing these distracted driving facts and recognizing the dangers of using mobile phones while driving is great, that knowledge is practically meaningless if you continue to use your phone while driving and don’t speak up when others do. So, what can you do?
To reduce the temptation of using your phone while driving, we recommend putting it in a place you cannot easily access from the driver’s seat. Pick your playlist and map your route before getting going, and maybe even turn your phone on silent so the sounds of notifications don’t distract you.
To help others reduce the risk of using a cellphone while driving, you should be clear about the dangers to both new and experienced drivers and share relevant distracted driving facts with them. If you are a parent, make sure your children understand why they shouldn’t use mobile devices before they get their driver’s license. You should also lead by example and follow the same rules you’re encouraging other drivers to set for themselves. If you do need to send a text, make a phone call, check your directions, or do anything else on your phone, pull over and find a safe place to do so.