July is Cellphone Courtesy Month, offering a great opportunity to reflect on how your interactions with these devices impact other aspects of your life. Good behaviors to monitor this month include:
- How often do you look at your phone?
- How often do you ignore those around you in favor of what’s happening on your phone?
- How does your relationship with your phone impact your driving skills?
Distracted driving leads to over 28,000 injuries in Maryland every year, contributing to the approximately 390,000 distracted driving car accidents that result in injury in the U.S. yearly. Most of these accidents are entirely avoidable. This makes them entirely unacceptable.
The CDC reports that distraction leads to nine deaths and 1,000 injuries daily. A shocking majority of those accidents are caused by just one thing: cellphone use. Perhaps the most courteous thing you can do - in July and beyond - is turn your cellphone off when you get into your car or, at the very least, silence it and place it out of sight. This will not only reduce your risk of killing someone else, it will allow you to pay more attention to the road and react more swiftly when someone else’s distraction tries to kill you.
No Time Like the Present
AAA reports that 46.9 million Americans will be traveling at least 50 miles from home on and around July 4th. Because the 4th is mid-week this year, much of that travel will take place on days where weekday traffic is already a problem. This means that increased vigilance will be essential to help protect yourself and your passengers from an accident.
Increased vigilance means putting your phone down and refusing to pick it up - even when stopped - until the car you are in charge of safely operating has been turned off. It’s a big responsibility, safely operating a vehicle, one that cellphone use makes next to impossible. In fact, study after study has shown that humans are incapable of multitasking effectively. Yes, even you, no matter what you’ve tried to convince yourself otherwise. There is no safe way to use a phone while driving a car. Not for calling, not for texting, not “hands-free.” There is literally no safe way to use a phone and drive at the same time.
You Are Setting an Example
If you are a parent, your cellphone use is setting an example for your children. This is particularly disconcerting when you consider that distraction plays a role in 58% of all accidents caused by teen drivers. When you talk or text while driving, you are normalizing dangerous behaviors - dangerous behaviors that could get your teen injured or killed. Recognize that cellphone courtesy is a learned behavior and take steps to teach your children well.
Our phones are amazing devices. They have simplified our lives and placed endless information at our fingertips. By not using your cellphone while driving, you are helping to ensure that you and those who share the road with you can continue to enjoy these wonders of technology for several years to come.
If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in a car accident in or around Baltimore, please call Cohen & Dwin at 410-653-6000 for a free consultation.