What has changed in your world in the past ten years? Likely, everything about your life has completely changed. Similarly, the technology world has changed immensely in the past ten years. TV’s have grown about 20 inches, computers have shrunk about 10 inches, and cell phones have evolved from cordless bricks to handheld lifelines that control our every move. Further, today’s cell phones give us the ability to send instant messages, send emails, update Facebook statuses, take pictures, use GPS, and a whole plethora of other applications. Many of these phones are more complex than your basic desktop computer! And while it may seem remarkable that we have limitless access at our fingertips, the extended capabilities of cell phones may be more detrimental than useful. One issue that may arise from this limitless access is texting and driving.
Since 2010, texting and driving has increased almost 50% (AT&T It Can Wait Campaign). The specific reason for this increase in texting and driving is unknown, but it has been found that texting and driving is even more dangerous than it once was (if that’s at all possible). Prior to touch screen phones, people were able to text without looking at their phones because they could feel the buttons. Today’s phones, however, require that we look at them because there are no buttons. Each time we look at our phones, we spend almost five seconds with our eyes off of the road (AT&T It Can Wait Campaign). Five seconds is enough time to travel across the length of a soccer field! And obviously, five seconds is also more than enough time to get into an accident. One report says that “texting and driving results in longer response times than even drunk driving!” A drunk driver only needs an additional four feet to start braking, while a driver who’s texting needs an additional 70 feet to begin braking (Cell Phone and Texting Accident Statistics).
So why do we continue to text and drive? Further, why are we still allowed to text and drive? Only fourteen states and the District of Colombia have banned texting and driving. Even more surprising is that only six states and the District of Colombia have prohibited driving and talking on the phone (Cell Phone and Texting Accident Statistics). With approximately 3,092 distraction-related deaths in 2010, you’d think lawmakers would crack down on this issue. Some argue, though, that it’s not the government’s responsibility. Do you think the government should put restrictions on what we’re allowed to do while driving? Or should we take it upon ourselves and just stop driving distracted?
For those who think we should take it upon ourselves to stop distracted driving: there’s an app for that. Recently, AT&T developed an app called “Drive Mode”. Drive Mode is an app that once activated, disables incoming calls and text while you are driving. All calls go straight to voicemail and all texts and emails get autoreplies (if you choose). Drive Mode also has an “allow list” of people that you’re allowed to receive calls from and make calls to while the app is running. Further, 911 is always accessible whether the app is running or not. If you choose to download this app, you are choosing to take the pledge to stop texting and driving. I already took the pledge. Will you?
If you are interested, take the pledge now! Do not text and drive. Someone needs you.