Phone Distractions Endanger Drivers

The National Safety Council (NSC) has confirmed what most of us know – cell phones and driving don’t mix. In a recent report, the organization cited cell phone use as a factor in 24 percent of auto accidents in 2010. In a review of 180 fatal crashes from 2009 to 2011, the NSC found that 52% of fatal accidents involved drivers using cell phones. In 2011 alone, eight Hoosiers died in phone-related accidents.

In Indiana, it is illegal to text and drive, but talking on one’s cell phone is still permitted. However, while hands-free devices and similar options allow hands to stay on the wheel, they do not remove the distraction. The safest choice is simply to not be on the phone in any capacity while driving.

Here are some tips from the NSC to help shift the cultural acceptance of using the phone while driving:

  • Change your cell phone voicemail greeting to: “I’m either away from my phone or currently driving. Please leave a message.”
  • Tell people who call you while they are driving that you value their safety and will talk when they can do so safely.
  • Speak up when in the car with someone who uses a cell phone while driving.
  • Let people who transport your children know that they should not use their cell phones while driving. If driving without using a cell phone is not possible, arrange for alternative transportation.