By now, you've probably been hearing about the deadly consequences of texting and driving for at least a year or two. Stories of accidents, near accidents, injuries and deaths are in the headlines almost daily. Police are issuing tickets, cell phone companies are running commercials, and yet a new study shows that texting and driving is now the number one killer of teens, surpassing drinking and driving and killing more than 3,000 teens per year. Here's the story as reported by CBS:
"Texting while driving has now surpassed drinking and driving as the leading cause of death among teens, according to a new study.
More than 3,000 teens die annually from texting while driving, compared to about 2,700 for driving under the influence of alcohol, according to a study by Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park.
Despite a national ad campaign and a national dialogue on the dangers, the study reveals stunning new numbers: 50 percent of students text while driving and half of high school kids who drive said they text behind the wheel, CBS 2′s Carolyn Gusoff reported.
“The reality is kids aren’t drinking seven days per week — they are carrying their phones and texting seven days per week, so you intuitively know this a more common occurrence,” Dr. Andrew Adesman, Chief Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Cohen Children’s Medical Center told Gusoff.
Adesman, the chief author of the study, found that laws against texting while driving are not effective. Fifty-seven percent of boys said they text while driving in states with texting laws, and 59 percent said they text while driving in states that don’t have texting laws, according to the study.
Many are not surprised by the results.
“People are texting and driving all the time,” one man told WCBS 880′s Mike Xirinachs. “I don’t know the exact way to do it, but something’s gotta be done.”
“Every single day I see it,” one driver said. “People driving along, texting, talking on their phone. They’re not supposed to do it, but they do it — kids, grown-ups, everybody does it.”
“I’ve seen it firsthand, it does cause accidents, it’s dangerous and it’s irresponsible,” a former police officer told 1010 WINS’ John Montone. “A vehicle is a weapon, just as a gun or a knife, and you can kill people. You don’t deserve to have a driver’s license and that level of responsibility where you can kill people if you’re not willing to take precautions, such as not texting and driving.”
Statistics show that if you are communicating by text while driving a vehicle, you are 23 times more likely to crash.
Some schools have been taking measures to make sure its students stay safe. Students at the New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury and Freeport High School participated in driving simulations demonstrating the dangers of texting behind the wheel. Teachers are also taking matters into their own hands by sending their students a strong message about the deadly consequences of texting while driving.
Manhattan schoolteacher Julius Khan said he tells his students to “think about your mother and father crying over your grave or someone’s else grave that you’re responsible for killing.”
“Pay attention to what you’re doing because the life you save could be your own,” Khan added.
Lawmakers have also been pushing for tougher distracted driving laws.
In March, Long Island State Senator Charles Fuschillo proposed harsher penalties for distracted drivers, including increased fines for talking or texting on a cellphone and stricter measures for repeat offenders.
“It goes up to $400 but all the penalties in the world aren’t going to stop someone from being irresponsible,” Fuschillo said.
One possible solution is more widespread use of phone apps that restrict texts and calls from coming in when it detects the phone is in a moving car, Adesman said."
For the original story, visit: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2013/05/09/study-texting-and-driving-kills-more-teens-annually-than-drinking-and-driving/
Of the 2 trillion text messages sent each year, too many are sent from moving vehicles. The CDC stats on distracted driving are alarming, so much so that private corporations are stepping up to the plate. It's not just non-profits and Ad Councils promoting safer behavior, BMW and AT&T have both launched campaigns designed to curb distracted driving. Given the dangers involved and the consequences of any accident involving a motor vehicle, you wouldn't think we'd need advertising to know better. Sadly, too many of us just aren't paying attention.
One in Three Text and Drive
In this case, the stats aren't lying. But, if you claim you don't text and drive, you might be. According to a recent survey by the CDC on distracted driving, 31 percent of American drivers admitted to sending or reading an email or texting while driving in the past 30 days. Here's one example of our European counterparts outsmarting us, rates in most countries across the pond are much lower. How does that translate to accidents? Almost 20 percent of accidents in 2010 involved a distracted driver. The likelihood of getting in an accident increases 23 times while texting and driving. So, aside from the laws making texting while driving illegal, it's downright dangerous. Thankfully, automakers and phone companies are stepping up in an effort to make our drivers and our roads safer.
BMW Takes a Stand
With support from Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, BMW North America stepped up with a multi-platform campaign in 2011 including TV, digital, radio and print to educate drivers about the dangers of texting while driving. The campaign was titled "Don't TXT & Drive" and pulled on the heartstrings of every parent. It reminded drivers what's at stake with their family in the car and their attention not on the road. That's sure to make you feel better about buying a BMW. Even if you're considering a used BMW, it's nice to know they're taking action.
AT&T Has Something to Say
So an automaker is hoping to stop the danger of texting and driving, what about the cell phone companies? Data plans are growing and smartphones are as popular as they've ever been. AT&T isn't just doing an advertising campaign, they created an interactive exhibit for high-school students that toured the country. In 2010, the company launched the campaign titled "It Can Wait" asking drivers if the last text they read or sent was worth causing a serious accident. If that wasn't enough to drive the point home, they also featured parents of teens killed in accidents and injured accident survivors. It's hard to argue with the sight of a paralyzed teen or a crying parent. In 2013, they followed up by creating a simulator and taking it to high-school students, visiting Ohio to coincide with the state's new law banning texting while driving.
What About You?
Now that you've heard what BMW, the CDC and AT&T have to say about texting and driving, what's your takeaway? You're controlling a hunk of metal hurtling down the road at upward of 60 miles per hour. It doesn't matter how many airbags you have or how good your ABS is, the best safety feature in your car sits behind the wheel— it's you. Keeping your attention on the road and your eyes on the oncoming traffic is the surest way to keep you and your passengers safe. If you or someone you know or love is texting and driving, it needs to stop. For your sake, for your passenger's sake, and for everyone else's on the road with you.
We were fortunate to be invited by the Huffington Post to participate in a live conversation about teen driving and whether the driving age should be raised from 16 to 18 in the US. Our opinion is NOT that the driving age should be raised, but that there should be more parental and school involvement to promote text free driving and distraction free driving among teen drivers.
The truth is that ALL ages should focus more on text free driving, but the show was focused on teen drivers. We were one of 4 panelists involved in the conversation. Take a look and let us know what you think, do you think teen drivers should have to wait until age 18 to get an unrestricted license?
Here is a link to the Huffington Post interview. (it seems as though you have to mute the live feed in the top left corner or it plays at the same time as the interview):
It's easy to vilify games as distractions or time wasters, but it's not always a black and white debate.Gamifyingis the practice of adding a gaming element to an activity, and it can be quite effective. By adding stakes or points to otherwise tedious practices, you incentivize achievement. Gamificationcan be as simple as turning a lesson into a challenge or as complicated as rethinking your entire life.
Memorizing the rules of the road is necessary, but uninteresting to a teenager. Even though there's no real world benefit, there is a satisfaction to winning a game of jewel quest online at iWin. So how can you marry the appeal of a game with something tedious or unappealing to get the result you want from your teen driver?
First, remember that you hold the power. Sure teens are headstrong and over-confident about their abilities, butyouhold the purse-strings. You own the car, maintain the insurance and provide the living quarters. Driving is a responsibility, so tie it in to everyday life if you think your teen will best respond to that. Or, make driving its own game.
Assign positive point values to desirable behaviors like:
- Coming to a complete stop in reverse before shifting into drive.
- Using turn signals and checking blind spots appropriately.
- Parallel parking successes.
- Stopping for yellow lights rather than speeding up.
Assign negative point values to problematic behaviors like:
- Even picking up a cell phone while operating a vehicle or texting and driving (make this a big deduction).
- Overly passive or overly aggressive passing and merging.
- Brake slamming.
- Rolling through stops.
Once you've established point values create standards, rewards and consequences. Are privileges suspended or limited at a certain level? Is curfew extended for a high score? Every family and every driver will be a little different but the underlying idea is the same. Constant feedback, both negative and positive, will let the driver know what they're doing right and what they can improve on. Driving is a serious responsibility in which, unlike games, you don't get unlimited lives.
Improving Basic Skills
Gamers have long asserted that they develop skills like increased hand-eye coordination and tactical thinking skills from games. It's been oft discussed and plenty of research has been done to back that up, though it's hard to know if encouraging your teen to spend more time playing Halo will noticeably impact driving performance.
World renowned game developer Jane McGonigal,PhD says "gameplay is extremely productive." She continues, in an op-ed piece contributed to The Guardian, "it does produce the positive emotions scientists say are crucial to our health and success." What does that mean for your teen driver? Well, McGonigal posits that " we are more likely to help someone in real life after we've helped them in a co-operative game." I don't know about you, but I'd rather drive next to a confident and cooperative driver, rather than an aggressive and selfish one. If a little extra (appropriate) gaming will lend itself to better driving and everyday behavior... well I say go for it.
Dont forget the rewards for winning the game. One reward could be a texting thumb band, wrist band or t shirt! Not only is it a reward, it's a great reminder NOT to text and drive! Find some great rewards in the Safety Store:
I often times forget that texting and driving is a worldwide problem and not just something we have to deal with here in the United States. This email from London was a stark reminder of the deadly consequences of texting and driving, both here and abroad.
"Today is january 10th and at 50 yrs old I saw something I never want to see ever again.
this was the saddest day I have lived. I got a job at a place that processes smashed cars and trucks and vans. Its the step before the scarp heap or resold to a place for parts
I did see a lot of blood in cars and knowing it was adults it really does not bother me too much. I was sent to an area sectioned off as the "death row" i saw horrible damage and you can tell why they call it this, everyone dies in these crashes. exposed transmissions and engines some cut open by jaws of life some with stained bandages and a lot of blood dried everywhere.
I saw a van that looked like it got a t bone hit on the passenger side and drivers door was hit also this impact was easily 100 km per hour. When I looked in the passenger rear sliding door window I found a infant car seat. Straps were cut to remove the child, the cuts were very frantic like a person trying very hard to cut them. The baby seat was half its original width in the middle and was obviously twisted out of shape from the impact. Then as I looked closer the brown car seat was covered in blood which dries reddish brown and the inside roof had a blood splatter above where the seat was originally sitting the blood was a high speed platter. and then as I looked away i saw a teething ring beside the seat. this child was less than a year old.
I lost it right then and there i just sat down and cried. this was so overwhelming. I have seen a lot of death in my life and a lot of accidents when I drove limo. but this was a whole new sight for me, I don t know how first responders do it. I wouldn't last long as a paramedic.
I regained my composure and told my boss what i saw out back and he said yeah that one bothers even the toughest guys in the yard thats why it is way in back. I asked what caused the crash and he said the guy that brought it in on the flat bed tow truck told him it was a texting thing. The parent was sending a message and drove into a intersection with a red light got hit at the rear passenger door first and hit by second truck on the drivers door. he said they did not die on impact, but both died in a few hours and it really bothered everyone that saw the inside. very few dry eyes.
I have used my phone while driving because i thought it was important at the time. but after today the phone goes completely off from now on. I never ever want to be the person responsible for this kind of destruction. I hope more people follow my lead on this. NO MORE TEXTING AND DRIVING our children and babies are getting killed because of this.
Whether you like it or not, your baby is growing up fast. It's already time to give your teen driving lessons and frequent the DMV. They will be begging you for their first car (or borrow yours, every minute of every day). I know giving your teen car keys is very stressful, and somewhat unnerving due to the terrible accidents from drunk driving and texting while driving. If you communicate and stress the importance of no texting while driving and set certain guidelines beforehand, giving your teen their first set of car keys will be a little less stressful, knowing you've taken every precaution possible to warn them about the dangers (and safety) of driving.
First, your teen needs to understand driving a car isn't a right it's a privilege. When they're behind the wheel they are operating a potentially deadly weapon. And with power comes great responsibility; thus the need for auto insurance.
Here are some rules and guidelines your teen should follow if they want to start driving on their own:
State how many people are allowed in their car. The less people the better. Immediately, your teens friends will start wanting rides to school, the movies, the mall and the more friends your teen has in their car, the more distractions, which increases the chance for an accident. A good number is two. Allow your teen to have up to two passengers in the car at all times, no exceptions.
Absolutely NO Texting While Driving
According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2009 an estimated 5,400 people died and 448,000 people were injured in car crashes involving a distracted driver. You want to know what the most common distraction was? Cell phone use and texting. It's no wonder some states have taken to the law and made talking and texting while driving illegal. There is no reason for your teen to be answering calls or texting while driving. Explain to them if it's an emergency to pull over to a parking lot or the side of the road and use their phone. Never while the vehicle is in motion.
How to Act if They're Pulled Over
Whether you want to admit it or not, everyone at some point or another will be pulled over. Teach your teen how to respond when they are pulled over and to never get defensive. Be polite to the officer and when he approaches you, calmly state for his badge number and let him know you are verifying he is indeed a police officer. If he is, he won't mind that you're making sure you keep yourself protected. Have your drivers license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance ready. When speaking with an officer, speak clearly, don't make excuses and always use appropriate language.
Make Sure They Understand There Will Be Consequences if Rules Are Broken
If you find the rules you've set (friend limit, where your teen can and can't drive, etc.) were broken, they need to know immediately that the behavior will not be tolerated. You should take away their car, video game and Internet privileges. If you do, they are most likely never going to break your rules again.
Top Cars for First-Time Drivers
According to Cars.com, here's a list of top cars for first-time drivers:
2012 Kia Soul-It's a great value for the money (starting at $13,900) and is tech-savvy enough your teen will want to be seen in it.
2012 Hyundai Accent-The best deal for first-time drivers who want to use their own money to purchase a brand-new car. Starting at $13,320, this car get's the most bang for the buck and has great fuel efficiency.
2012 Honda Civic-The Honda Civic is a tried and true car that has been driven by millions of drivers throughout the years. Starting at $15,605, it's a little more expensive but remains a top seller, so you know the car will be worth the extra dough.
There are other options available for your teen, just do the research on cars and choose the best fit for them (and make sure their safety features are up-to-date, with great reviews).
Authored by: Pete Morris A gentle giant, Pete is a high school basketball coach, painter and car mechanic. He has been fixing cars since he was 13 and loves saving the day when someone's car won't run.
At more than twice the size of Texas, Alaska is the by far the largest state in the U.S. but with only 481,487 drivers, it ranks 48th in size of drivers. But that's not stopping the Alaska Department of Transportation from taking steps to promote safer, text-free driving on Alaskan roads and highways.
We're thrilled to be providing text-free driving materials to the Alaskan D.O.T. for their text-free driving campaign. It's great to see an entire state getting involved in the fight against the deadliest driving habit since drinking and driving and we know they're going to make a great impact throughout the state and save lives along the way.
With over 400,000 people injured in texting and driving accidents last year alone, we need more states to take the initiative and work on changing driver's thoughts and misconceptions about texting and driving. Most people still admit that they believe they have the ability to safely text and drive, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Changing people's thoughts and behaviors about drinking and driving and seatbelt use has made significant impacts on the overall safety of driving throughout the U.S. Together we can do the same for texting and driving and makes the roads a safer place for all of us. Thanks, Alaska, for doing your part to help!
Infographics are becoming more and more popular, and for a very good reason. They share information in an easy to understand format, using both information and graphics (hence the term infographic). I recently came across the following infographic that demonstrates - again - the dangers of distracted driving and texting and driving. Take a look.
There’s no doubt that distracted driving is an epidemic on our roadways. From texting to eating on the go, distracted driving – no matter which form it takes on – can cause car accident injury and even death. And while most parents strive to teach teens the importance of roadway safety, a new study says some parents are to blame for their teen’s distracted driving including texting from behind-the-wheel.
It’s a classic case of “do what I say, not what I do.”
Liberty Mutual and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) together studied distracted driving patterns for teens and parents. The study revealed that parents who practiced unsafe driving habits like texting and driving, or talking on the phone, had teens that also practiced the same bad habits behind-the-wheel. Teens were up front about their parents’ bad driving habits, and admitted they tended to pick up on those behaviors when driving alone.
The study showed that nearly two-thirds of teen drivers believed their parents had bad driving habits. Even more alarming, teens said their parents engaged in texting, speeding, and even driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. And while teens acknowledged their parents’ bad judgment, they also admitted to engaging in the exact same behaviors.
Nearly 91 percent of teens witnessed their parents talking on their cell phone, and 90 percent admitted to doing it themselves. When it comes to texting and driving, nearly 59 percent of parents were caught doing it and 78 percent of teens admitted they had done it, too, once they saw their parents engage in the behavior.
Sadly, 20 percent of teens witnessed their parents drive drunk, and 15 percent admitted to doing it as well.
Parent checklist for safe driving
When it comes to distracted driving, the power is in your hands. If you’re a parent concerned about your teen’s driving, here’s what you can do. And teens: if you’ve seen your parents engage in any distracted driving – from cell phone use to texting and beyond – now is the time to voice your concerns. If we want to keep our roadways safe, we’ve got to band together and take action now. Consider the following safety tips:
Get a “safe driving” app
There are several free and low-cost phone apps that can help you build safer driving habits. Some apps can prevent incoming texts from downloading until the vehicle is stopped. That way, the temptation to read the text is eliminated. Get the app for yourself and your teen today.
Use a parent-teen driving contract
A few rules can go a long way. When the expectations are set for your teen, the risk for distracted driving can be reduced – especially when there are consequences for the behavior. When writing the contract, let your teen have a voice, too, and if s/he requires rules for your driving, then write it into the contract as well. Let your example lead the way.
Declutter your car
Radios, GPS, CDs, iPods, in-dash navigation… they can all lead to a deadly car accident, especially when these technologies are combined and used simultaneously while driving. Declutter your car and avoid using more than one or two devices at a time. Show your teen what matters most: eyes on the road, focused on driving.
Distraction beyond the cell phone
Most drivers are well-aware that cell phone use and texting while driving is dangerous. If you don’t use your cell phone while driving, we congratulate you for making our roads a safer place. Take your safety efforts a step further and eliminate common distractions like eating food, applying makeup, or checking emails. Let it wait – the life of you and your teen may depend on it.
Take the Million Pledge Mission
Be a part of the change! Sign our Million Pledge Mission today and commit to being a no-text driver. Sign the pledge now, and get your teen on board, too. And teens: if your parents text and drive, send them the pledge and let them know you want our roads to be a safer place. One at a time, we can make a difference.
Guest Post By: LAW OFFICES OF MICHAEL PINES, APC (Central Office)
4660 La Jolla Village Drive, Suite 1030
San Diego, California 92122
We've long been promoting texting thumb bands as a great way to remind teen and adult drivers that texting and driving do NOT go together. We recommend texting thumb bands for a very good reason - you use your thumbs to text! However, there are a lot of other great ways to encourage people to put down their phone while they are driving. Here are just a few:
Don’t Text And Drive T Shirts: Yep, you can wear the message on your chest in addition to on your thumbs! A great logo and a crystal clear message like “Don’t Text And Drive” go a long way in the fight against texting and driving.
Wrist Bands: Move the message 4 inches up your arm from your thumb to your wrist and watch people’s response. Especially if your wrist band glows in the dark!
Phone Guard/Text Deterrent: It’s hard to text when you’ve got a text deterrent blocking you. Wrist bands serve a double purpose, when you get in your car and change your wrist band into a phone guard you’re visually reminded that you need to wait to text. You can even get one that glows in the dark so you’re reminded at night too!
Text Hammer: If all else fails, use the ultimate deterrent – the text hammer! The text hammer stops texting and driving once and for all and gives a great visual demonstration of how much damage texting can cause. To use, swing the text hammer onto the phone being used to text and drive. Repeat as needed until phone will no longer text.
Texting Duct Tape: An easy solution for those problem texting hands that refuse to stay on the steering wheel. Texting duct tape is guaranteed to reinforce the lessons of proper hand placement while driving. Simply apply texting duct tape to any stubborn hands and watch as hands instantly become more secure in the proper position. Reapply extra layers as needed.
Texting Screen Cover: Guaranteed to stop wandering eyes from looking at incoming
texts, the texting screen cover is a great addition in the fight to stop texting and driving. Quick and easy application of the texting screen cover allows any auto passenger to immediately stop drivers from texting and driving. Make sure you buy multiple covers so you’re prepared for every ride.
Make sure you’re armed with every tool there is to keep yourself, your friends and family and everyone in your community from texting and driving. You’ll be making a difference and helping to keep people safe. And you never know, the life you save may just be your own.