The number of people who believe they are addicted to their smartphones is on the rise. And a growing body of evidence shows that overuse of these devices is changing the way our brains work.
Smartphone overuse and/or addiction is a real problem that affects all areas of life.
In particular, many drivers cannot stop using their phones once they get behind the wheel. The desire to check text messages and stay connected at all times is too strong with these people.
Unfortunately, when a driver is using a smartphone while driving, the safety of all other drivers is also at risk.
Zendrive, a company that analyzes driver behavior to improve driving safety, performs an annual Distracted Driving survey. This past year, Zendrive analyzed more than 160 billion miles of driver data.
The study confirmed that distracted driving is actually more dangerous than drunk driving, supporting previous research conducted by the University of Utah in 2006.
Unfortunately, the problem is only getting worse. The study found that drivers in the U.S. are 10 percent more distracted than they were a year ago.
Among people who identify as phone addicts, Zendrive found that:
- They use their phones while driving three times more often than other drivers
- They spend 28 percent of their driving time not paying attention the road
- They spend 1.5 times more time on the road than other drivers
- They are more likely to crash than drivers who are not using their phones
Zendrive detailed some of the specific driving habits of these drivers: They tend to drive more slowly, initiate braking 9 percent slower, resume normal speed 19 percent slower after braking, and exhibit 24 percent more variance in following distance than other drivers. These, according to Zendrive, are some of the reasons these drivers are more likely to crash.
Sadly, many of these drivers recognize the dangerous of distracted driving, but still refuse to stop the behavior themselves. Additionally, using a smart phone while driving is not illegal in all jurisdictions and, even where it is, the enforcement of these laws does not reach the level of enforcement for driving while intoxicated. Although the research shows that distracted driving is far more dangerous than drunk driving, the societal stigma and criminal penalties associated with distracted driving are far more lenient.
There is only one comprehensive solution to the distracted driving problem, and that is for each driver to completely eliminate distracting behaviors: Text messages can wait. Phone calls can wait. Emails can wait. Devoting full attention to driving is the most important thing a driver can do.
About Our Scholarship Program
Each year, the law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner sponsors scholarships for high school students who pledge not to text while driving. Students at four local high schools are encouraged to enter the contest by writing a statement explaining why they are choosing not to text while driving.
We know the devastating effects of distracted driving, and we are committed to doing something about it. For more information about our scholarship program, visit Text Free Texas.