When we think of distracted driving we all think of texting and driving. In fact, texting and driving is the new kid on the block of distracted driving. With the may of things we decide every day to do while driving, it’s a wonder we ever arrive safely at our destination. It is not the time to multi-task while you’re control of a motor vehicle.
Some of the distractions we encounter while driving are subtle like listening to the radio while others like applying makeup and are downright laughable. But no one is laughing when these distractions cause an accident. While there are many activities we perform every day with distraction, we have become all too desensitized to distracted driving. When was the last time you were in a car with a distracted driver? If you didn’t feel at risk, you either weren’t paying attention or you simply don’t recognize when your life is in danger because of distracted driving anymore.
Consider some of the statistics that make it clear that distracted driving kills.
- 16% of all motor vehicle fatalities are due to distracted driving.
- 24% of these are caused by texting and driving
- The younger the driver, the more likely they will be to drive distracted.
- Light truck drivers and motorcyclists are the most distracted drivers on the road.
- Those aged 30–34 are most likely to be using a phone while driving.
When we put ourselves on the road we put ourselves at risk. Add in distractions like texting, talking and eating and you have just increased that risk not only for yourself but for others. Despite deterrents such as fines, distracted driving is still very much a tolerated behavior.
Consider some of the distractions that we are all guilty of.
- Holding onto and manipulating something other than the steering wheel of your car.
- Looking for something or reading something.
- Daydreaming and not focusing on the road.
- Applying makeup or shaving.
If the chance of causing an accident is not enough to stop bad behaviour when driving, in Ontario, you might be paying a hefty fine. The fine for a first offense of distracted driving will cost you $490 – $1,000 and three demerit points.
We wouldn’t tolerate our pilot texting while landing a plane or a firefighter talking on the phone while putting out a fire. So why do we, for the most part, allow distracted driving? Likely because it is all too common and our society has yet to become properly anguish by the results of distracted driving.
To put the effects of distracted driving into perspective for you, texting is six times more likely to cause an accident than alcohol. Distracted driving costs the healthcare system and the workplace $10 billion annually.
Next time you are behind the wheel of a car, consider the sheer weight of your vehicle. Consider the speed in which you are traveling and remember your cargo. Nothing is more important than the task at hand when you chose to drive a vehicle.