We all know that distracted driving is dangerous, but are we aware how dangerous it truly is? Ontarians have now had a couple years to get used to the “new” law, banning hand held devices while driving, yet we continually see people texting, using their mp3 players, GPS units and the like. The law, which was put in place on October 26, 2009, makes it illegal for drivers to talk, dial, email or text using hand held devices. Additionally, it prohibits drivers from viewing display screens that are not related to operation of the vehicle.
Do you know your crash odds?
People texting while driving are 23 times more likely.
People talking on a cell while driving are 4 to 5 times more likely.
People who read while driving are 3 times more likely.
Individuals applying makeup while operating a vehicle are 3 times more likely.
Individuals reaching for a moving object while driving makes you 9 times more likely.
Dialing on a mobile device makes you 3 times more likely.
What is alarming given these statistics is how many people don’t take this offence seriously. According to a study completed at the University of Utah, distraction caused by cell phones or mobile devices delay someone’s reaction time the same as an individual driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08. Furthermore, driver distraction is a factor in about 4 million motor vehicle accidents in North America each year.
In recent years we have seen a great improvement with in vehicle technology. Most new vehicles are now equipped with devices such as; Bluetooth, OnStar and HondaLink. These are all programs that can help drivers embrace the new distracted driving laws. There are also new smartphone applications that have been made available to drivers. One such app is called “Text Ya Later,” (Android only) which allows you to create a message letting others know that you are driving and will text them later. This message can be set so that it is automatically delivered when activated. Another application, more suited to parents, is “Mobile Tattletale”. (For a list of supported devices, click here) When installed on a mobile device and the driver is moving, Tattletale will generate a warning message to the parent’s phone, giving them the ability to temporarily disable their child’s mobile device until the vehicle has come to a stop. Keep in mind that while these new technologies are helpful, for your safety and those around you, it is best to keep your eyes on the road and save the distractions for later.
By: Amy Cochren
Ontario Provincial Police http://www.opp.ca/ecms/index.php?id=545