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Is Texting the Same as Drinking and Driving?

As of 2012 39 states have some form of law regulating the use of texting devices while driving. In true American tradition, the laws vary from state to state and have many exceptions and special cases within each jurisdiction.  It is interesting to note that NO STATE bans the use of cell phones by drivers alltogether.  Although many do ban the use of them by certain subsets of drivers, for example, new drivers and bus drivers. It is very evident that texting while driving and distracted driving in general is a growing problem. Pending federal guidelines will make it a requirement for all jurisdictions to collect data about distracted driving.

A Growing Problem

We all know it's easier to reach down and shoot out a few letters than picking up the phone, letting it ring, exchanging pleasantries, making polite small talke, etc.... when you want a quick answer.  Buuuutttt, what does that mean for safety on the road? Not good news. There were 1.4 million car accidents in 2010 that were caused by cell phone distraction.  Surprisingly perhaps, given all the attention that texting and driving gets, only 200,000 of those were a result of texting and driving.  

Ok, ok, but I'm hands free. Doesn't matter. Have you ever found yourself daydreaming singing along to your favorite song and not quite sure what you passed by once in stopped? Talking on a cell phone, even with a hands free device can keep you just as distracted.

Stacking Up

Here are the top 25 reasons that people end up in car accidents!

  1. Distracted driving - this includes texting, talking on the phone, playing with the radio, yelling at the kids, petting the dog, and more

                              
  2. Speeding - zoom zoom says Mazda, but your insurance doesn't.  Keep the foot lightly on the pedal an your more likely to stay accident free
  3. Drunk driving - plain and simple. It kills. It is expensive even if it doesn't kill. Don't do it. The average non-fatal, non-accident resulting DUI will cost you 10-15k to resolve.
  4. Reckless driving - yes we all get frustrated by the morons who go ten under the speed limit in the passing lane but weaving in and out of traffic and passing on the shoulder isn't the answer.
  5. Rain - It's wet. Things float on water at high speeds. Slow down. Stay away from other things.

                Wet roads cause damage
  6. Running red lights - often of our do more, go faster world this is a pretty deadly one, taking those turns fast or jetting straight through can lead to some serious injuries or even death.
  7. Running stop signs - see number 6.
  8. Teenage drivers - they out to come with blinking neon lights but they don't. Refer to #4 and stay away from teen drivers who are being aggressive.
  9. Driving at Night - you may not realize it but even with headligths and well lit roads you can't see as well at night and the risk of an accident nearly doubles.
  10. Blind spots and other defects - get to know your car.  You need to know where and when you can't see what's around you.
  11. Chaning Lanes - You may have seen the movie with Ben Affleck and Samuel L Jackson. Take heed!  Changing lanes can be dangerous if you don't use your blinker and check your blind spot.
  12. Going the wrong way - seems silly. The signs are big and red and state simply 'DO NOT ENTER' but then you're on your cell phone or changing the radio and....
  13. Improper turns - know the right of way at four way stops. Furthermore, OBEY turn lights!!
  14. Tailgatining - you're not Mario Andretti or Dale Earnhardt, don't try to draft your road neighbor. Keep one car length for every ten miles per hour of speed.
  15. Drugs - this includes everything from prescriptiong pills to illegal items such as marijuana. If your head isn't clear you shouldn't be on the road.
  16. Ice and Snow - Slip and slides should be saved for summer but if you must go out proceed with extreme caution and stay away from other drivers!!!
  17. Road Rage - Keep the guns and grenades at home people. Maybe keep a xanax in the car (refer to number 15 above though).  Seriously. Stay calm. Better to be irritated that in an accident.

                                      road rage
  18. Some areas are much worse than others, particularly state to state, but there are some car - eating potholes out there that can do some serious under carriage damage to your vehicle.
  19. Driving Tired - it can be as bad as driving drunk or driving and texting.  Don't do it.
  20. Tire Blowouts - this also beckons to car maintanence. Take care of your vehicle and it shall take care of you as well!!

The bottom line is there are a lot of reasons for the millions of car accidents in this country every year but the number one reason is distracted driving and the problem of using cell phones and smart phones in general is exasberating that issue.  When you get in the car put the phone in the glove box - chances are you're not that important and whatever or whoever needs you can wait until you get where you're going!

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