Really…you were driving 50 in a 65 speed zone, weaving into my and other drivers’ lanes while oblivious to the dangerous conditions you were causing. Then you looked up from your texting to glare at me as I passed and noticed what was causing your erratic driving. Really?!

It certainly wasn’t safe and it was illegal. You were in one of the 46 states that specifically ban texting while driving. It is a citable offense and could lead to serious charges if you caused a crash while texting.

Not only were you endangering yourself, but dozens of others around you as you blithely tapped away at your phone – on the Interstate no less. Thankfully, this time there was no crash and hopefully not the next time, but the odds are against you.

In your smug defiance, did you know?

  • 3,179 people were killed and another 431,000 were injured in crashes involving distracted drivers
  • One-third of drivers in a 2015 survey admitted to texting while driving and 75 percent said they have witnessed others doing it
  • 10 percent of fatal crashes and 18 percent of injury crashes were reported as caused by distraction
  • For the first time in a quite a few years, the number of fatalities on the nation’s roads and highways increased in 2015
  • August is one of the deadliest months on American roads
  • More drivers are using their mobile devices to surf the internet to check sites such as Snapchat and Facebook
  • The average text takes your eyes off the road for about five seconds, comparable to driving the length of a football field blindfolded

So, what can we do about drivers like this? WE must continue educating all drivers, especially younger ones, about the carnage caused by all forms of distracted driving. Barring that, technology may come to the rescue with devices that block all texts and phone calls while a person is behind the wheel, or another that prevents the car from operating if the phone is not secured in a special docking mechanism.

In the meantime, here are 10 actions to stop distracted driving:

  1. Turn off phones and other devices and stow them away
  2. Spread the word with a cell phone message telling callers you’re driving and will get back to them when you are off the road
  3. Pull over if you need to make or receive an important call
  4. Use passengers to make a call or respond to a text for you
  5. X the text – don’t ever text and drive, surf the web or read email while you are driving
  6. Know the laws about whether you can use a hand-held cell phone behind the wheel
  7. Prepare in advance and program your GPS device before you start the car – if you need to change or review the directions, do so only after pulling over and stopping
  8. Secure pets to keep them from being a danger or distraction
  9. Mind the kids or other passengers and pull over to interact with them or address any issues or behaviors
  10. Focus only on driving – never multi-task, refrain from eating, drinking, reading, grooming, smoking or any activity that takes your mind and eyes off the road

Recognizing the danger of distracted and reckless driving, California Casualty is a proud partner of Impact Teen Drivers, a nonprofit that educates parents and teens about the realities of bad choices and behaviors behind the wheel. Their programs have reached millions of young drivers, employing peer-to-peer messaging, focused school presentations and community workshops to prevent the number one killer of teens today. Learn more or lend your support to this important organization here. 

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