Eyes on the RoadIN ADOLESCENT HEALTH
April is Distracted Driver’s Awareness Month, a time for Americans to tackle one of today’s greatest challenges—putting down your cell phone.
Supported by the National Safety Council (NSC) and sponsored by FocusDriven, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing cell phone-distraction accidents, Distracted Driving Awareness Month was created to challenge drivers to eliminate all cell phone use, including handheld and hands-free use, while driving.
Distracted drivers—those attempting to multitask by having conversations, applying makeup, eating or performing essentially any other task while driving—experience a tunnel vision effect known as inattention blindness. As the brain can only focus on one activity at a time, distracted drivers may be looking at the road, but they cannot see or process half of the information in their surroundings.
NSC and FocusDriven began the awareness month in response to the large amount of accidents caused by cell phone use while driving. NSC estimates that 1.3 million car collisions are the result of distracted driving.
Some may think that eliminating texting alone will help correct the distracted driving problem, but there is great need to cease handheld or hands-free cell phone use as well. Of the 1.3 million distracted driving incidents, NSC estimates that drivers talking on cell phones, both handheld and hands-free, are responsible for 1.2 million of these wrecks, while drivers who are texting cause an estimated 100,000 accidents.
Struggling to Let Go?
Learning to be without your phone can be difficult in the beginning. If you are struggling with using your cell while driving, practice the following recommendations:
- Place your phone in the glove box or in the trunk to avoid temptation.
- Pull over and park in a secure location if you need to use your phone for an emergency.
- Turn your phone to silent to prevent distraction while driving.
Communicate the dangers of distracted driving to your teen, and join NSC and FocusDriven this April by making the commitment to eliminate cell phone use while driving.
Addicted to Texting
One out of three teens sends more than 3,000 texts a month or 100 texts a day, according to the Pew Research Center. For some, this obsession has turned into an addiction. Addictions are characterized by intense obsessive behaviors with progressive tolerance increase and withdrawal symptoms in the object or behavior’s absence. Texting falls under this description for many teens.
Take the Test
If you are concerned that you or a loved one might be addicted to texting, ask the following questions to see where your relationship with your cell phone stands.
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Sources: nsc.org, focusdriven.org, safetylane.org, pewresearch.org, nhtsa.dot.gov, cellphoneaddiction.org