Traffic safety advocates and experts have been preaching about the dangers cell phone use for years, and are pleased to see high powered advocates like Oprah and Secretary LaHood taking up the cause. Our most recent Traffic Safety Culture study confirmed drivers are hearing the message with 80% saying they agree that distracted driving is a serious threat to road safety. However, 67% of those same drivers also admitted to using a cell phone while driving in the previous month. This clearly indicates while the message is being heard, driver behavior still isn’t changing. This “Do as I say, not as I do” attitude must change!
Undoubtedly, many drivers believe they have above average skills and can multi-task with any consequences. However, a recent study by the University of Utah has reconfirmed that our brains are simply not wired to multi-task. Earlier work at Carnegie Melon University summarized in a recent National Safety Council White Paper showed that relevant brain activity “decreased by 37%” when multi-tasking. Hopefully, these new findings will convince drivers to give up their cell phone habit while driving.
And, the next time you are in a vehicle and are tempted to make a cell phone call, just ask yourself the question – How important is that phone call? Is it worth risking getting in an accident, damaging your car, injuring or even killing yourself or someone else? I hope you will agree that the only correct answer is no to all these, since far too often someone else pays the price for another driver forgetting that. No phone call or text message is worth the risk and potential consequences!