Distracted Driving

Curb Cellphone Use to Keep Our Roadways Safe

John Galvin
John Galvin

Many years ago, I got my first cellphone. It was larger than the one I have today, and I could only make phone calls on it. Fast-forward to 2018, and cellphones are mini-computers that allow you to talk, text, watch shows, listen to podcasts and buy your favorite products. However, cellphones are also devices that have proven to be extremely distracting to drivers.

In a recent study, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety concluded that using a cellphone while driving can increase your chance of a crash up to eight times. For 70 years, the foundation’s mission has been to save lives through research and education. One of its main areas of focus is to guide drivers toward safe decisions.

While there are many benefits of cellphones, their use behind the wheel creates a dangerous situation. The study, which can be found on the foundation’s website at AAAFoundation.org, shows what happens when motorists use their cellphones while driving. It includes data from a sample of 3,593 drivers whose driving was monitored using in-vehicle video and other data collection equipment for a period of several months between October 2010 and December 2013. The results compared the odds of a crash involving motorists who used cellphones while driving versus motorists who did not.

Not surprisingly, motorists who texted while driving had significantly higher risks of a crash. In fact, the study found that motorists who texted or surfed the internet while driving were two to eight times more likely to be involved in a crash. Talking on the phone, even hands-free, made motorists four times more likely to be involved in an accident. These odds translate into more crashes on our roadways every day.

At AAA, we focus a lot of our efforts on saving lives. Motorists are putting themselves and others at risk when they use their phones while driving. I’m sure you’ll agree that any level of risk behind the wheel is risk not worth taking.

Visit the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety to find out about other studies and findings.

Do you have a story about the dangers of cellphone use behind the wheel? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

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