Thursday, June 27, 2013

Please Don't Text & Drive!


Do you ever encounter this situation? You’re driving on the freeway when suddenly the vehicle directly in front of you slows down quickly. What is the reason most of the time? It’s called distracted driving and the #1 form of doing it is texting. Texting while driving has become a huge problem in this country today and that’s why states are establishing anti-texting laws and using the media to get the message out there.

The national statistics are scary and surely not an LOL moment. 23% of all accidents in this country are caused by texting (1.3 million annually). 13% of all people ages 18-20 in accidents admitted texting while driving. And since 82% of Americans between the ages 16-17 own cell phones, the numbers are staggering. And here is the most frightening stat out there-- 77% of drivers ages 16-25 believe with confidence that they can safely text while driving without compromising their safety on the road. Now that’s an OMG revelation, for sure!   

At Mike’s Auto Body with 11 locations in the Bay Area, we encounter customers who have been in car accidents because they were texting or the driver of the car they hit was texting. Even though the news is often discussing the dangers of texting while driving, people continue to text on the road.

In a recent study sponsored by the Southwest Region University Transportation Center, 42 drivers between the ages of 16 and 54 participated in the research. Researchers at the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) have determined that a driver’s reaction time is doubled when distracted by reading or sending a text message. The study reveals how the texting impairment is even greater than many experts believed, and demonstrates how texting drivers are less able to react to sudden roadway hazards.

The study — the first published work in the U.S. to examine texting while driving in an actual driving environment — consisted of three major steps. First, participants typed a story of their choice (usually a simple fairy tale) and also read and answered questions related to another story, both on their smart phone in a laboratory setting. Each participant then navigated a test-track course involving both an open section and a section lined by construction barrels. Drivers first drove the course without texting, and then repeated both lab tasks separately while driving through the course again. Throughout the test-track exercise, each participant’s reaction time to a periodic flashing light was recorded. Reaction times with no texting activity were typically between one and two seconds.

Based on the study, reaction times while texting were at least three to four seconds on average. Worse yet, drivers were more than 11 times more likely to miss the flashing light altogether when they were texting. The researchers say that the study findings extend to other driving distractions that involve reading or writing, such as checking email or Facebook.

So, please refrain from texting or using your cell phone while driving.  Ask yourself, how important is that text message or phone call? Does it really have to take place right now while you’re driving and risking your safety, not to mention the safety of everyone else on the road?  If you think about it, texting and talking on the phone can ALWAYS usually wait.

A useful safety tip from Mike’s Auto Body, because your well-being is our #1 priority.

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