Teenagers and their cellphones seem to be inseparable at times, but knowing
when to put the phone down can save a lot of lives. According to the
CDC, accidental injuries are the number one cause of death for teenagers with
73% of those being motor vehicle accidents. Teenage drivers are the biggest
proportion of drivers that are distracted, and distracted driving increases
the risk of an accident by three times.
Distracted driving extends beyond texting. According to
distraction.gov, it is defined as anything that takes the driver’s attention from
the main focus of driving. This includes applying make-up, using a navigation
system, fiddling with music choices, reading, eating or drinking, and
talking to passengers.
“Teenagers think that a quick glance to read a text is harmless,
but it isn’t as quick as you think,” said Catawba Valley Medical
Center Child Health & Safety Specialist/Safe Kids Catawba County Coordinator, Kayla Hefner. “The average person takes their eyes
off the road for 5 seconds to read a text message. If someone is going
55 mph on the highway, they could drive the length of a football field
without looking at the road.”
Not only is texting and driving dangerous, it’s illegal. In the state
of North Carolina, texting and driving is illegal for drivers of all ages.
And, while handheld and hands free devices may be legal for those over
18 to use while driving, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is safe.
Studieshave shown that the visual-manual tasks such as dialing increase your risk
for an accident three times over.
Decrease the Temptation to Drive Distracted by Following These Tips:
- Turn off the phone or put it in airplane mode while driving
- Stow away items of potential distraction so they are out of reach and view
- Enter your destination into GPS before hitting the road
- If a text is that important, pull over to the side of the road in order
Commit to drive phone-free and take this
pledge that not only helps protect you, but helps protect others by holding them
accountable for driving while distracted. Through teamwork we can work
to keep drivers as safe and as focused as possible.
So before you reach for your phone in the car, just ask yourself if it’s
worth risking your safety and the safety of others. For more information
on ways CVMC and
Safe Kids Catawba County help increase childhood safety throughout the community, contact Kayla
Hefner at 828.485.2300 (x6204) or