Let’s face it, even though texting while driving is against the law in Indiana, many Hoosiers still take the chance to glance at their phone if a text comes in while they’re driving. Others admit that they take the risk to send a text or respond to one while driving, despite knowing it’s illegal and dangerous.
According to a report by the Indiana State Department of Health, motor vehicle fatalities remain the No.1 killer of Hoosiers ages 5-24, with more than 700 Hoosiers dying every year from motor vehicle collisions. It’s estimated that at least a quarter of these are related to cell phone use, and there are now more crashes related to texting and driving than drinking and driving.
According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, texting while driving is especially dangerous because it involves all 3 types of distracted driving:
- Cognitive distraction, with your mind off the road.
- Visual distraction, with your eyes off the road.
- Manual distraction, with your hands off the wheel.
Because of this combination, people who text while driving are 23-times more likely to crash. Here are some other facts you should know about texting and driving:
- When you look at your phone to read or send a text while driving, you take your eyes off the road for an average of nearly five seconds. While that may seem like the blink of an eye, it’s equivalent to travelling the length of a football field with your eyes closed if you’re driving at 55 MPH.
- According to the Indiana Department of Labor, studies have found that your reaction time will be about 30% worse if you’re trying to text and drive, and that you’ll be out of your lane an average of 10% of that time.
- The National Highway Traffic Administration estimates that there are about 481,000 drivers on their phones while driving every day.
- 42% of drivers admit to reading a text or email while driving.
- About 70% of drivers report using a cellphone while driving, despite knowing they have an increased risk of causing a crash.
- The National Safety Council reports that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year.
- 1 in 4 car crashes are estimated to involve cell phone use.
Just because you haven’t had an accident while texting or emailing while driving, it doesn’t mean that you are “good” at texting and driving. Rather, it just means that you’ve been lucky so far.
Consider this: the Indiana Department of Labor conducted a study by testing drivers on a simulator that uses everyday hazards such as people or animals crossing the road or sudden traffic stops. Almost no one completed the simulation without crashing if they were texting at the same time.
Safety Steps To Take
Ultimately, not only is texting while driving dangerous, it’s also against the law to type, transmit, or read email or text messages on an electronic device while driving in Indiana. Violations may result in fines of up to $500.
If that’s not enough to eliminate the temptation to check your phone while on the road, here are some other steps you can take to ensure that you, your passengers, and other drivers around you remain safe from texting and driving distractions:
- Purchase a hands-free communication device such as an earpiece or headset so you can keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.
- Pull your car over if you absolutely must make or accept a phone call or respond to a text.
- If your phone has a “do not disturb while driving” setting, enable it.
- Place your cell phone in the glove box or trunk of your car so that it’s out of reach while you’re driving.
- Download a phone-silencing smartphone app such as AT&T Drive Mode or On My Way (OMW). Most apps like these are available for Android and iPhone, regardless of your carrier, and send notifications that you are driving to anyone attempting to reach you.
- If you need to see it to believe it, download It Can Wait. This cell-phone virtual reality simulation shows the real consequences of looking at your phone while driving.
- The app Lifesaver gives parents the power to lock their teen’s phone. The phone is unlocked once the car comes to a stop.
- The DriveSafe Mode app and the Canary app also offer parents peace of mind by tracking a young drivers actions behind the wheel. These apps track phone usage, including texting and talking, as well as speed and location while driving. The app notifies the parent If a driver uses his or her phone while driving.
The surgeons and staff members at Evansville Surgical Associates want everyone to stay safe, so please be vigilant about not texting and driving. It may only take a split second to make the wrong decision to text or email behind the wheel, but the consequences can be lifelong.
When accidents do occur, our Advanced Trauma Life Support certified surgeons are specially trained to handle life-threatening injuries and illnesses, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.
The trauma surgeons at Evansville Surgical Associates are certified by the American College of Surgeons for Advanced Trauma Life Support, and both Deaconess Midtown and St. Vincent-Evansville are designated as Level II Trauma Centers by the American College of Surgery.
Established in 1969, Evansville Surgical Associates celebrates 50 years of providing leading-edge comprehensive and compassionate surgical care. Learn more about our physicians and our practices by visiting our website, or by calling us at 812.424.8231 or 800.264.8231.