Are cell phones and social media killing drivers?

Texting while Driving

Texting while Driving

Picture it. You’re driving down the road singing along to Britney Spears and your phone blows up with notifications.  Your best friend Sally texted you, someone liked the selfie you posted to Facebook and all of a sudden your breaking heavily to stop at the red light in front of you…As you try to come to terms with what just happened, you soon realize that was a really close call. It seems as if drivers are becoming too easily distracted while driving with all the new technology that is introduced into the world each and every day.  Are cellphone companies and social media to blame?

Let’s face it—the statistics are all over the web. Over 77 percent of young adults seem to be overconfident and think they can safely use their phone and drive at the same time. Over 50 percent of them think it’s easy to text while they operate their vehicle, but do they know they are also putting other drivers in danger?

A quick glance at your phone could cost someone their life.  People who text and drive are 23 times more likely to be involved in a car crash.  That may not seem like such a big number, but why risk it?

Each day in the US, nine people are killed and over 1,000 are injured due to distracted driving.  That’s over 3,000 deaths and 365,000 injuries a year!

Back in the day, it was your parents and driver’s education instructor telling you to never lose your concentration while driving. Now, with tons of distractions like cell phones, states and various organizations all over the US are taking initiative to help protect their citizens. So far, 11 states have completely banned the use of a cellular device while driving, while the other 39 have created some type of law limiting what you can do with a cell phone. New Jersey, which has banned using a cell phone while operating a vehicle, is really trying to crackdown on this epidemic.  The state is looking to create a law giving police officers the ability to go through a person’s cell phone if they believe distracted driving was the cause of a crash.  They are fore-going personal privacy to stop drivers from harming each other on the road.

Even cell phone companies are teaming together to try and prevent this issue.  The Big 4 (AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile) have come together and created anti-texting ads to show their customers that they care.  By joining forces, they hope to send a bold message to their customers to stop using their cell phones while driving.  If that’s not enough for you, there are many links on social media sites where you can connect with groups, find driving statistics, and ways to prevent this dangerous act. There’s even apps you can download to disable your phone while driving. Some of them are:

With all that said, I go back to my original question.  Are cell phones companies and social media agencies to blame for drivers becoming too distracted?  Quite frankly, I believe the answer is no.  The person holding the phone in their hand is the one who should be held responsible. We have become too connected and too attached to put the phone away for a simple drive down the road.  It’s not like someone is twisting our arms to use the phone when we’re driving; we do have the ability to disconnect for our daily commute, we just need the willpower to do.

By Brittany Hoffman

Brittany Hoffman is a blogger at fishbat, an award-winning social media agency. She is currently a senior at St. Joseph’s College (NY) studying for a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration while minoring in Economics.

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