Picture this: It’s 1973, and the first cell phone hits the streets. It’s huge. It’s bulky. And it’s about to change society as we know it. Over the next forty years, we have gone from a culture that leaves messages and waits for replies to one that expects everyone to be available immediately, no matter what they are doing. When it comes to talking on the phone while driving, that expectation can be deadly. Cell phone driving safety must be a priority.
Now, we face a world where texting or talking and driving causes one in four traffic accidents. As a business that sends its employees on the road every day, Plantscapers is dedicated to having the safest driving practices possible. No matter how good of a driver you are, if your attention is split between the road and your phone, you’re unable to drive safely.
According to the National Safety Council, cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year. Texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than driving drunk. And of all the cell phone related tasks, texting is by far the most dangerous activity. Checking a text takes approximately five seconds of your attention. That’s enough time to travel the length of a football field if you’re traveling at 55 miles per hour.
I recall reading a story of a promising young soccer player that had just signed an acceptance letter to her dream college with a full scholarship. As she was driving, congratulatory texts kept coming. As she looked down to read one, she ran a red light, killing an entire family in a minivan. Now, she will spend her life in prison for manslaughter instead of on the pitch. Is your life worth a text? No.
If you work in a field that calls you to travel or if you drive for any reason, take precautions before you drive. Here are some safety tips for using your cell phone and driving.
1. Realize that multitasking is a myth. The National Safety Council recommends avoiding cell phone use at all, as drivers can miss up to half of what is going on in their surroundings while on the phone.
2. If you MUST use your phone, check out the features and use the hands-free options at your disposal. If you can, use CarPlay or another in-car app to route your phone controls through your speakers.
3. If you don’t have CarPlay, use a dashboard mount and either speakerphone or a headset to answer calls. Texts can wait.
4. If you have to text someone, pull over. The life you save by focusing your attention on either your phone or your driving might be your own.