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Half of U.S. Drivers Say They Usually Use Cellphones Behind the Wheel


By Cara Murez 

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, April 3, 2023 (HealthDay Information) — Texting and driving may be lethal. Holding your cellphone in your hand to speak and browsing the web whereas behind the wheel is harmful, too.

That is broadly recognized, however a brand new survey finds that about half of all respondents nonetheless use an digital system most or each time they drive.

“I would say it is not as a lot stunning as it’s irritating,” stated Adam Snider, a spokesman for the nonprofit Governors Freeway Security Affiliation (GHSA), which wasn’t concerned within the research however issued a information launch after it was launched. “Distracted driving is one thing that’s extremely pervasive.”

Within the survey, performed by the Insurance coverage Institute for Freeway Security (IIHS), greater than 2,000 licensed drivers have been requested how a lot they agreed with dozens of statements designed with the Well being Perception Mannequin in thoughts.

That mannequin is described as a behavioral change idea developed to grasp why some folks don’t undertake a sure well being habits. It’s often utilized to sickness or illness prevention, in line with the research. 

“I believe the outcomes from this research actually assist shed some gentle on the explanation why” persons are nonetheless utilizing their telephones of their vehicles, stated lead creator Aimee Cox, a analysis affiliate with the IIHS.

Cox stated that seems to incorporate “the necessity or the perceived want to answer household or pals, the necessity for data, all these items that fashionable cellphones have actually allowed us to do with out eager about it.”

Whereas distracted drivers are utilizing their telephones whereas driving as a result of they don’t wish to miss a name from their youngsters, for instance, it’s additionally their relations who they are saying might encourage them to place the telephones down. 

“I believe that gives a very distinctive alternative to the place if we will encourage that open and protected communication and dialogue, we will have teen drivers and children encouraging their mother and father to follow protected driving behaviors and vice versa. I believe it must go each methods,” Cox stated.

Distracted drivers killed at the very least 3,000 folks in 2020, in line with an announcement issued by GHSA CEO Jonathan Adkins. That was 8% of all site visitors deaths.

One other 400,000 persons are injured every year, Snider stated, however it could very nicely be increased, as a result of it may be onerous to show that distracted driving precipitated a crash.

“That is one thing that each one who will get behind the wheel has the ability to show off their cellphone, to place their cellphone down, to place it within the glove field, to attach via in-vehicle applied sciences,” Snider stated.

It takes about 5 seconds to learn or ship a textual content message, Snider famous. At 55 miles per hour, that’s 130 yards with out as soon as trying on the highway, he stated.

You’re primarily driving the size of a soccer subject, finish zone to finish zone, with out as soon as seeing the highway, blindfolded, which is extremely harmful,” Snider stated.

Public consciousness is vital, he added.

It took a very long time to lastly make ingesting and driving socially unacceptable, he famous. Snider additionally pointed to the progress made in getting folks to put on seatbelts. Public consciousness campaigns and other people encouraging one another are among the many elements that finally helped.

“Fascinated by seat belts, it may well take a very long time to have this tradition change, however the security impacts may be large once we make it the anticipated norm that somebody both buckles up or places their cellphone down,” Snider stated.

An earlier evaluation discovered that oldsters of youngsters ages 18 and youthful have been among the many high offenders of driving distracted, Cox stated.

“That was attention-grabbing, however, once more, not stunning since you’re managing a busy way of life,” Cox stated.

Among the many questions researchers posed to these surveyed: What impression it might have if their household or pals reminded them that they might damage or kill somebody with distracted driving.

“These have been all messages that individuals indicated in our pattern that in the event that they heard from somebody that they cared about saying these types of issues to them, that might be actually motivating,” Cox stated.

These surveyed additionally stated they might be motivated by coverage adjustments, together with elevated and harder enforcement of distracted driving legal guidelines. A majority additionally stated they’d assist this, not simply be motivated by it.

“There’s not only one straightforward repair,” Cox stated. “We’ll have to extend menace perceptions and discover options to the frequent limitations, whereas additionally implementing these cues to actions like speaking with household and pals or these policy-level cues.”

It’s not simply drivers and their passengers who’re being injured or killed due to distracted driving, Snider stated. It’s additionally pedestrians and bicyclists.

“Everybody can play a job on this. This isn’t an issue that is unsolvable,” Snider stated.

Extra data

The Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Security Administration has extra on site visitors deaths.


SOURCES: Aimee Cox, MPH, analysis affiliate, Insurance coverage Institute for Freeway Security, Arlington, Va.; Adam Snider, BA, director of communications, Governors Freeway Security Affiliation, Washington, D.C.; “Making use of the Well being Perception Mannequin to Cell Machine Distracted Driving,” March 2023


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