Smartphones and other handheld electronic devices have become woven into the fabric of daily life. There are some routines and activities, though, that should stay smartphone-free. One in particular: driving.
According to Distraction.gov, there were 3,154 auto accident fatalities attributed to distracted driving in 2013, and that same year distracted driving resulted in about 424,000 injuries. While texting and driving is one of the most dangerous kinds of distracted driving, a survey from earlier this year shows that texting isn’t the only smartphone activity that is putting motorist’s lives at risk.
In a poll commissioned by AT&T as part of the company’s “It Can Wait” campaign, more than 2,000 drivers admitted to some very dangerous behavior behind the wheel. All of the respondents said they were smartphone users, and disturbingly, 61 percent admitted to texting while driving.
In addition to texting, 33 percent of survey participants said they emailed while driving. Twenty-eight percent said they drove and searched the Internet at the same time, while 27 percent said they used Facebook while operating a vehicle.
Some drivers (17 percent) drove distractedly by taking selfies, and others used Twitter (14 percent), Instagram (also 14 percent), video (12 percent), Snapchat (11 percent) and video chat (10 percent).
The reality is that distracted driving is comparable to drunken driving in terms of how the two behaviors raise the risk of injury and death. California already bans texting while driving, as well as use of handheld devices for all drivers. Still, far too many people continue to put their lives and the lives of others at risk by prioritizing gadgetry over safety.