By Michael Pines, Accident & Injury Prevention Expert
In theory, the law is supposed to create a safer environment for citizens. But here in California, despite a legal ban against texting and driving, our laws have proven ineffective in the face of rising rates of texting and driving behind the wheel. That is, at least, what a new study suggests on cell phone use behind the wheel.
The Automobile Club of Southern California released its annual roadside observational survey which revealed that although cell phone use has gone down in California, texting and driving has unfortunately increased.
It goes without saying that any distraction behind the wheel including texting and driving is unsafe and can lead to an increased risk of personal injury and death. Cell phone use causes mental distraction and physical inattentiveness – two factors that significantly slow reaction time while creating dangerous situations on our roadways.
Since the ban was against texting and driving was instituted five years ago in California, nearly 790,000 citations have been issued by the California Highway Patrol.
Even though cell phone use has declined by 57 percent according to the study, texting has increased since the 2009 statewide ban. While it initially saw a decrease immediately after the law became effective, the AAA’s most current study reveals that about 4 percent of drivers are texting behind the wheel at any given time – a steep increase from its 0.3 percent figure from five years ago.
“Officers experience difficulty in citing texting since motorists can conceal their behavior inside the vehicle much more easily than when using a handheld cell phone. This impacts how effective the law can be as a deterrent,” said the Auto Club’s Traffic Safety Researcher Steven A. Bloch, Ph.D.
THE LAW IS THERE TO PROTECT YOU!
The ban against texting and driving is there to protect none other than YOU. Don’t risk it. Be a safe driver for yourself and others, and put down your phone.
Studies show that texting and driving quadruples a driver’s chance of getting into an accident while being the equivalent of driving under the influence. Did you know that texting behind the wheel is just as dangerous as driving with a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.08 percent? Don’t risk your safety – or your life.
USE AN APP.
Most drivers don’t
wantto text and drive, but they inadvertently find it irresistible when they hear a text message come through. Stop the habit in its tracks by downloading any one of the many text-free apps. Texts will be queued until you’ve come to a complete stop.
HIDE YOUR CELL PHONE.
Here’s a creative way to be a good citizen – and possibly save your life! Put your cell phone in a locked glove compartment or in the trunk so you avoid its use while driving.
AVOID HANDS-FREE CELL PHONE USE.
If you can, try to avoid all types of cell phone use, even hands-free. According to various studies, even hands-free use can cause significant mental concentration which can cause you to remain unfocused on the road ahead.
When driving, simply drive!
About Michael Pines
Michael Pines is a personal injury attorney at the
Law Offices of Michael Pines, APCin San Diego, California. He is an accident and injury prevention expert, on a campaign to end senseless injury one article at a time. Catch Mike on