As of December, 2013, 153.3 billion text messages were sent in US, this shows how the mobile phone is highly used by people, in the same year (2013), 3, 154 people were killed and 424, 000 people were injured in motor accident involving distracted drivers. SOURCE: distraction.gov. This may explain why motorists are prohibited to use mobile phone while driving in the State. For instance:
On September 30, 2009, The President of United States, Barrack Obama issued an executive order prohibiting Federal employees from texting while driving on government business or with government equipment.
On October 27, 2010, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enacted a ban that prohibits commercial vehicle drivers from texting while driving in US.
Nevertheless, in 2011, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration banned all hand-held cell phone use by commercial drivers and drivers carrying hazardous materials in US.
The question is why all these orders or ban on the use of mobile phone while driving on the road? It is because your mobile phone can make the road unsafe for you and other road users. In fact, it is one of the major causes of accident on our roads.
There are a lot of distractions that are likely to happen when driving or using the road; such distractions include talking to passengers while driving; reading; writing; receiving calls or making calls; texting, eating and drinking to mention but a few, they are distractions because they can steal one’s attention. Hence, distraction occurs when one’s attention is directed to different object at the same time of doing something. Therefore, with this understanding, when driving, distraction simply means anything that can cause your eyes and mind to off the road and it also includes, what can cause your hands to off the steering wheel. Distraction on the road places road users such as pedestrian, motorist or cyclist on high risk when using the road, when the drivers are distracted while driving the chances of road accident becomes higher. For instance, in USA, it was reported that 3,328 people were killed in 2010 and in 2011, 3,360 people were killed respectively, in road accidents involving distracted drivers. SOURCE: Center for Disease control and prevention. (CDC), these explain while all road users must avoid distraction whenever they are using the road.
However, most motorists or drivers are part of mobile phone users. Mobile phone benefits its users in many ways but it becomes a dangerous object that can kill you on the road, if it is used while driving. For instance, if your phone rings while driving and you discipline yourself not to pick the call because you want to be safety conscious while using the road but, you try to check or look at the phone screen in order, to know who your caller really is. Truly speaking, by this act, what has just happened to you is nothing but a dangerous distraction that can kill you on the road, why? It is because it takes only a split of second for an accident to occur and whatever that will take your eyes and mind off the road while driving is unwanted dangerous distraction in road transport that can lead to a fatal accident. In addition, it is important for you to know that the use of mobile phone is a distraction that can impair drivers to some degree but texting alone on the mobile phone draws your eyes and mind away from the road for longer period of time than listen to radio or even calling someone on your mobile phone. More so, when you engage in conversation through your mobile phone, while driving, it is important to also know that conversations require your extra thought which will diminish your concentration while driving. The simple truth is that using mobile phone while driving is a risk you must avoid.
Often the time I have seen motorists or drivers receiving calls while driving on the road. I have also seen pedestrians receiving calls or making calls while crossing or using the road; sincerely speaking I have also seen a cyclist receiving call while riding a bike on the road. In fact, some drivers even try to read text on their phone while driving, and some pedestrians also try to text their friends while using the road or walking on the road, these are bad habits that can make our roads unsafe. For instance, texting can take your eyes off the road for 3 to 4 seconds and do you know that it takes a space of 2 seconds for an accident to occur. This explains why mobile phone can become a dangerous object that can kill you on the road. Your safety and the safety of others must be your sincere concern whenever you make use of the road.
However, as a motorist there are things you need to do in order to keep yourself safe on the road and other road users as well. You need to start practicing good driving habits without being forced by law enforcement agencies; you need to see it as your civil responsibility to make the road safer for all road users. However, there are steps you need to take as a motorist in order to make our road safer for all of us, such steps are as follow:
- Do not text or read text while driving
- Be at alert and focused when driving on the road.
- Do not call a man when you know that he is on the road driving.
- Avoid eating and drinking while driving.
- Be determined to avoid distraction at all cost.
- Warn your driver if he’s distracted.
- Avoid watching films or videos while driving.
- Avoid unnecessary intimate discussion with the passengers.
- If possible you may off your mobile phone or put it to silence whenever you are driving.
- Park your car safely to make call or receive call if necessary.
Like I have said before, the use of mobile phone when you are behind the wheel can kill you; therefore, I see it as an urgent need to spread awareness of the risk on my blog. At this point, I think it must be socially accepted that the use of mobile phone while driving is a wrong habit and there must be a social movement against it, in order to put a stop to it and I also think that, the best way to end distraction while driving is to educate the public about the danger therein, that their mobile phones may be their mobile killer so to say. This explains why this article is important. Stop being a distracted driver or road user!