Distracted Driving vs. Drunk Driving – Is It Time for a Designated Texter?
Distracted driving has officially surpassed drinking and driving as the most dangerous behaviour on our roads. Perhaps the most telling statistic when comparing distracted driving and impaired driving is the fact that, in 2013, distracted driving caused more deaths on Ontario roads.
Driving a vehicle while texting is six times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
According to the OPP, the number of crashes involving distracted drivers was higher than impaired and speeding combined. This is a scary statistic, and it just proves our need to adjust our thinking when it comes to distracted driving and overall road safety.
We Need to Shake the Idea that Texting and Driving is No Big Deal
It’s clear that distracted driving has become a societal issue. Drivers of all ages are guilty of distracted driving, but the major issue is that many people either think it’s not a big deal or they can safely do things like text and talk on the phone while driving.
Therefore, we need to change the perception and society attitude toward how we view distracted driving. We need to make distracted driving as socially unacceptable as drunk driving. We need to communicate this message not only to new drivers that are getting their license for the first time, but also to current drivers that are guilty of these dangerous driving habits.
Even though some States and Provinces across The US and Canada are taking the necessary steps to outlaw distracted driving, and there are plans in place to increase the fines and penalties in Ontario this fall, people need to fundamentally think that distracted driving is wrong and dangerous for real change to occur.
Are Designated Texters the Solution?
One of the huge success factors in reducing the number of drunk drivers over the years was the introduction of designated drivers. With the dangers that texting and driving present, perhaps it’s time to take the concept of the distracted driver and apply it to distracted driving.
Here is how it works:
- Drivers hand over their phone to a passenger when they get in the car
- The passenger (or designated texter) holds the drivers phone, reducing the temptation for the driver to check their phone while driving
- The designated texter handles all incoming texts and phone calls for the driver
- The designed texter returns the phone to the driver when they arrive to their destination
The next time you are driving, consider handing your phone over to a passenger and let them handle all incoming texts and calls for you, so you can focus on being a safe driver.
Do you think the concept of designated texters can work? Have you tried something similar?