Even though we should know better, most of us use our smartphones while driving, according to a survey conducted by AT&T. As part of their “It Can Wait” campaign against distracted driving, AT&T asked smartphone users about their phone use while driving. The results are frightening. Seven out of ten users admitted to using their phones in some way while driving. This is particularly chilling since cellphones now cause more than one in four car accidents.
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What are we doing on our phones?
In the past, drivers could only use their phones to make calls or send texts, but the smartphone era has ushered in a host of new temptations. Smartphone users still text more than anything else—61% of people AT&T surveyed admitted to texting while driving—but now they have new distractions.
For example, 33% of AT&T’s participants admitted to emailing while driving and 28% said they surf the web on the road. Social media was also popular; 27% of users said they use Facebook, while Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat each drew in more than 10% of the survey participants. Especially disturbing was the finding that 10% of smartphone users use video chat while driving.
Why is that bad?
We have all heard that texting while driving is dangerous, but exactly how bad is it? Distracted driving can be as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. The danger is serious enough that 43 states have banned texting while driving and only 12 allow cellphone use with a hands-free device. Texting while driving now kills more teen drivers than drunk driving. It has become the leading cause of fatal accidents for teen drivers. Using cellphones on the road is not worth the lives that it costs.
In short, using cellphones on the road is not worth the lives that it costs.
What can I do?
It can seem nearly impossible for some smartphone users to resist checking their phones after receiving an alert or a text. Because it is so easy to tell ourselves that a quick look won’t hurt, we keep checking our phones while driving, even though we know it is dangerous.
Thankfully, you can download one of these safe driving apps, which block alerts and texts but let calls through. You can also take the It Can Wait Pledge and promise to keep your eyes on the road, not on your smartphone.