An average of 5,500 American deaths every year is a travesty, but the problem is 100% solvable. Here are some easy things we can all do to make an impact:
- If you can’t ignore that ring or buzz just put your phone out of reach - the glove box, the back seat or even the trunk. Easiest of all is to power down or switch to silent mode. A new habit will start to form and soon you won’t even think twice about picking up your phone.
- Remember that as a passenger you are every bit as responsible for what goes on in a vehicle as the driver. Speak up for yourself and don’t be afraid to take the phone from an irresponsible driver. Declare yourself the designated texter/talker when you sit down in the passenger seat.
- Put a bumper sticker on your car so that other drivers on the road get the message and so that you have an incentive not to look like a hypocrite by using your phone. Peer pressure is proven to be the best deterrent…even if it is self-imposed!
- Sit down with a friend or family member and make the pledge to yourself and to each other that you won’t use a cell phone while behind the wheel.
- Polls show overwhelming national support for stricter laws and consequences for cell phone distracted driving. Contact your local politician to voice your support and apply pressure for legislative change.
- One of the simplest solutions is to change your voicemail. Say “I’m not available to pick up my phone right now or I might be driving. Leave a message and I’ll call you back when I’m free or when I’ve reached my destination.” Everyone who hears that message will think twice next time they’re in the driver’s seat.
…and here are just a few of the great sites for facts, educational tools, and victim support:
Curious about the laws in your state? Click here to see a state by state breakdown of texting and talking laws in the US.
FocusDriven FocusDriven is a national nonprofit whose sole mission is to support victims of cell-phone distracted driving crashes and share their stories to promote greater awareness of the issue and encourage real solutions. They compile personal stories to illuminate the very human toll of cell-phone distracted driving and provide educational materials for those seeking more information. If you or someone you know has been in a cell phone related crash, please share you story with FocusDriven so it can be added to the database.
The National Safety Council is the best place to find all the background science and educational tools to teach yourself or an audience about the issue.