What is being done to Stop Distracted Driving?
October 12, 2010
Each day there is more research conducted, articles written and information available about the dangers of distracted driving. This increase in awareness is highlighting the growing problem all drivers face on the roadways. Distracted driving has been estimated to cause over 11,500 deaths in the last two years. But what has been done to eliminate the problem? What initiatives are organizations and individuals doing to combat distracted driving?
When you Google “distracted driving groups” you will find varied results of individuals banding together to increase awareness on distracted driving, on a local or country-wide basis. The organizations can be as simple as asking people to pledge against distracted driving, like Oprah’s No Phone Zone, or wearing thumb socks to show a driver’s support for not texting while driving. These groups establish their presence online, in various social networking services, making it easier to distribute the message.
With the nationwide awareness on the shocking statistics of texting while driving, the Federal, state and local governments and municipalities have proposed and enacted laws to prohibit cell phone usage while on the road. So far, more than 30 states have a law that places a ban on texting while behind the wheel, urging drivers to think twice before they pull out their phones. The type of penalties and amount of fines range from location to location. Currently, the options are being weighed on how to effectively further enforce texting ban laws.
How to stop phone use while on the road? Simple. Install a phone/text-blocker application. These applications interface the cell phone to the vehicle’s Global Positioning System (GPS) to see if the car is in motion. If so, the application disables the cell phone’s call and/or texting features. With crash-risk increasing four times/talking on the phone and 23 times/texting, it can help discipline the driver into not relying on their phones so much while on the road, until they break the habit.
Several local/teen driving advocacy groups have set up mock crashes to remind teen drivers (the group most likely to engage in texting while driving) what could potentially happen if they text and drive at the same time. In most places, the mock crashes are set up at the entrance of the school depicting the wrecked cars, actors as teen drivers, playing dead with phone in-hand. It is a shocking, yet accurate statement that reminds teen drivers of the potential consequences.
There are also trial course runs, usually hosted by a state’s Division of Motor Vehicles along with several advocates against distracted driving. They allow drivers to experience firsthand what could happen should they attempt to text while driving. Set in an enclosed space, with only traffic cones as obstacles and are operated at low speeds. These courses are designed to show drivers that they are unable to handle both tasks, by challenging them to maneuver their vehicle safety and skillfully while driving distracted.
Advertising and Videos
Various organizations release ads that are either funny or serious in order to make their point. Some organizations do their advertisements a step above by involving the people themselves. They create contests asking drivers if they have what it takes to get the message across, in a video format. The advantages of these types of contests include maintaining a limited budget, creating enthusiasm, spurring creativity and raising safety awareness in teen drivers.
People are motivated to change their behavior in different ways. One or all of these approaches can be incorporated to stop distracted driving. Take a proactive approach to know the dangers and help stop distracted driving.