Driving a vehicle comes with great responsibility. Although you may learn all of the skills needed to safely operate a car when you pass your license test, it’s easy to develop some bad driving habits along the way.
We all know that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can result in injury or death, but there is another thing you may be doing behind the wheel that is putting your life — and the lives of others on the road — in harm’s way.
Distracted Driving Is A Growing Issue
We live in an extremely busy world, with an abundance of information at our fingertips. We spend a lot of the day on our smartphones — from making phone calls, checking email, and endless text conversations.
Distracted driving accounts for 3,000 deaths on the road every year, according to the U.S. federal government. Statics show that roadway accidents due to distracted driving — mainly cellphone use — are becoming more prevalent and far more deadly.
Fatalities On The Road Are Steadily Increasing
Roadway deaths have risen in recent decades. Traffic fatalities have increased by 14.4% in the past two years, and over 100 people died in or within a vehicle every day in the year 2016.
Even more frightening is the number of pedestrians that have died due to being hit by a car in recent years. There were 5,987 pedestrian deaths by car in 2016, a number that increased by 22% since 2014.
This is no coincidence. Although evidence shows that citizens are drinking and speeding slightly more often, the more obvious culprit is in the palm of our hand.
The number of Americans who own a smartphone rose anywhere between 75 and 81% between 2014 and 2016, and our impulse to stay constantly connected is becoming super dangerous.
We Live In A World That’s Undeniably Wired
Times have changed. The main priority of smartphone users has shifted from texting and talking to posting on social media sites.
It has been found that four out of every 10 smartphone users log into social media while behind the wheel, according to research conducted by AT&T.
It doesn’t take much scrolling to find countless selfies or snaps taken while a user was driving, and this trend of reckless posting and dangerous driving has become widely accepted.
Luckily, advancements in technology are working to combat these startling statistics.
New Smartphone Safety Features Have Emerged To Help Us Focus
Apple is working to decrease the number of car accident fatalities by providing a new feature with the iOS 11 update. This update allows smartphone users to enable a “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature, which disables texting, phone calls, or any other notifications while you are driving.
This helpful and lifesaving feature is activated by the motion of a moving car, allowing you to turn on the feature and turn off any distractions. Apple will even send a default notification to any texts you receive, alerting those who try to contact you that you are currently on the road and will reply later. You can even customize this away message to fit your own personal voice.
This feature definitely takes the pressure off when it comes to a smartphone user’s wandering eye while on the road. It really comes to a matter of personal responsibility — a phone call, text, or status update can wait.
Your smartphone isn’t worth your life, or the lives of those around you.