In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s drinking and driving began to be recognized and taken more seriously. With that came increased awareness and a call to action from organizations like MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving) and the public started to get the message. This led to designated drivers, school-sponsored post-prom parties and the drinking age being raised to 21 in most states in the country. Over the last thirty years, the number of drunken driving fatalities has been significantly reduced according to the CDC. While drinking and driving is by no means a thing of the past, the message has made an impact.
Now that cell phones are indispensable accessories in our daily lives, they pose another danger that has gained momentum. Phones with added features such as email, cameras and texting have become more irresistible as we find ourselves stuck behind the wheel on our commutes. Calling home, texting a friend or checking an email while at a stop light isn’t likely to result in a collision, but once the vehicle is in motion, the dynamic quickly changes.
While 60 mph is generally considered on the slow side for interstate driving, a vehicle traveling that speed can cover 88 feet in a single second. That’s nearly a third of a football field. Taking a second to check an email can equal 88 feet of unseen roadway. One second can turn into three or four and then the danger becomes multiplied.
This poses a serious risk for the safety of the motoring public so it is important to keep the message coming. If the vehicle is in motion, the phone should not be in use. It takes real commitment and constant education of the public. It also unfortunately takes time to see improvement. But if history is any indication, it could be well worth it.