For those of us living in states where there are bans on texting and driving, we’re all now driving safer right? The answer might be “wrong.”
Recently the The Highway Loss Data Institute released a study that shows an increase in collisions immediately after the implementation of texting bans were put in place in four states. The study compares accident rates in the months before and after texting bans in California, Louisiana, Minnesota and Washington to data with accident rates in neighboring states without the ban. In three of the states studied, researchers found an increase in accidents immediately after the ban took affect.
What’s going on? Well, it turns out that the problem is we’re sneaky individuals. Rather than abide by the ban, drivers are simply hiding the phone in their laps so police don’t see it. That means we’re taking our eyes off the road even more!
Either we’ve become addicted to our mobile devices or we just have an authority complex and refuse to be told what to do. Maybe it’s a little of both. And it’s not just teens who are doing this. In fact, another study shows that parents are the greatest culprit of texting and driving. If we’re not setting an example for our teens, what do we expect them to do?
People – wake up! Texting and driving is killing people! It took another generation years to learn the dangers of drinking and driving. How long is it going to take us to figure out that texting and driving is reaching the same level? It’s scary enough when our kids get behind the wheel for the first time. They don’t have the experience to handle unexpected situations and slippery roads. Adding the threat of distracteded driving makes it even worse.
Perhaps we can’t be taught to put our phones down. Maybe we’re so hooked that it’s going to require them to be physically disabled to stop us and save us from ourselves. Fortunately a new product is about to hit the market which will do just that. The Protector (www.protector.com) from Taser is a device that will prevent a driver from texting or making calls while they’re driving. The beauty of this is that it is vehicle aware rather than mobile aware. That means it will only turn off the phone in their car, not in a friend’s or in a cab. Also, the device will alert you if your child is driving erratically and, if the car has been in an accident, you will get an alert as to the location and time of the collision. The Protector will be available this holiday season. I can’t think of a better gift for teens (and adults!) than the gift of safety.
Alison Rhodes is the founder of Safety Mom Enterprises and Safety Mom Solutions, the premier baby proofing and child safety company in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area. Alison is a family safety expert, TV personality and consultant.