You may find it shocking to learn that in a survey by State Farm, 57% of drivers admitted to talking on a hand-held cell phone while driving. 77% of drivers aged 18-29 admitted to the same offense.
As far as texting goes, amongst drivers aged 18-29, 69% admitted to texting while driving. Of the general population, 35% admitted to this, an increase from 31% in 2009.
But despite these high numbers, Americans don’t condone distracted driving. In fact, half of survey respondents supported imprisonment as an appropriate punishment for fatal cellphone related crashes. Three-fourths of participants strongly supported a ban on texting while driving.
Americans clearly overestimate their ability to stay focused while driving and talking on the phone or texting.
In 2013, there were over 3,000 fatalities as a result of distracted driving-related accidents.
“People recognize these things are dangerous, but they think that they themselves are good at it,” says Robert Rosenberg, an assistant professor of philosophy at the School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
If Americans recognized their own distractibility and advocated against distracted driving, it would be a critical cultural shift that could prevent further distracted driving-related accidents.
Many people assume being a responsible driver means using hands-free technologies such as headsets and voice activated systems. But according to Strayer, author of a study on distracted driving for AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety, “There really is no difference between hand-held and hands-free.” Safety advocates are arguing that hands free communication devices still entail a degree of dangerous distractibility.
This is an emergent issue, as car companies have even begun to compete by luring customers with promises of greater, safer connectivity in their vehicles, including more cutting edge options for hands-free talking and texting.
Perhaps the greatest cultural shift of all would be curtailing our need to be continuously connected, especially while driving.
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Featured image provided by Jace