Thunder Roads LA MS Magazine DEC2017 - Page 29

Servants to Our Cell Phone Overlords By GLENN C. McGOVERN Motorcycle TRIAL Attorney and MSF Basic Instructor Admit it. Have you ever been tempted when at a stop-light to glance at your phone to check for messages or respond to a text? Most people have. What happens next is inevitable. Someone honks because they see the light has turned green and they are in a rush to get to something more important than life itself (we are all in a hurry to nowhere). The car in the opposite lane wanting to turn left sees an opening and guns it in front of you. But you don’t see them, because you are reacting to the honking behind you and gun it yourself because that is what we all do when we feel pressured. Then the inevitable happens – a car/bike collision. The most frequent motorcycle accident configuration is when the motorcycle is proceeding straight ahead and an automobile turns left into the path of the oncoming motorcycle. This serious problem is compounded exponentially when drivers are texting or otherwise distracted, and as a result, have even less aware of motorcycles in the roadway. Car and Driver Magazine did a study on texting and driving and here is what they found: • When unimpaired, it took drivers an average of .54 seconds to brake. • When legally drunk, it took an additional four feet to brake. • When reading an email, it required an addl 36 feet to bring the car to a stop. • When sending a text, another 70 feet was required to brake. Did you notice the last bullet point? It takes longer for someone texting to stop than for a drunk! Each year, about 1,300,000 people are killed in road accidents. This is a mind- numbing number of deaths for the worst reason in the world. This means that over 3,000 people die every single day due to collisions on the road. With numbers like that, you start to wonder how the world is still on the way to overpopulation. Road accidents can happen anywhere in the world, and at any time. It is one of the most random, split second things that can ever occur. Everything can go wrong because of one tiny twitch of a hand at the wrong moment. People travel at such high speeds in the world now that nearly every accident is either fatal or leaves someone critically injured, or disabled. This has been made even worse because we are now living in an age of technology. People use the internet all the time, and most of their lives are connected to it so deeply that we feel disconnected without it. However, people are now so used to mobile phones that they think that they can drive while using them. It doesn’t matter how bad-ass you think your driving skills are, you still can’t text while riding. From texting to calling to using mobile navigation systems, people are always finding ways to use their mobile phones. It’s almost like we humans have lost control to our cell phone masters! 1. Drivers in their 20s are 23% of drivers in all fatal crashes, but are 27% of the distracted drivers and 38% of the distracted drivers who were using cell phones in a fatal crash. (NHTSA) 2. Nine Americans are killed every day due to motor vehicle accidents that involve texting a nd driving or some other form of distraction. (Huffington Post) 3. When traveling at 55 miles per hours, the 5 seconds it takes to send a text is enough time to travel the distance of a gridiron football field. (VTTI) 4. 53% of adult cell phone owners state that they have either been on the giving or the receiving end of a texting and driving incident while out on the road. (Pew Research) 5. There is a 1 in 4 chance that any motor vehicle crash on US roadways is going to involve a cell phone. (Huffington Post) 6. 1 in 3 US drivers between the ages of 18-64 say that they have either read a text message while driving or they composed one in the last 30 days (CDC) 7. Every day, 1,161 people are injured in crashes on US roads that are reported to involve a distracted driver. (CDC)17. Drivers who are willing to text while driving and nearly twice as likely to take a ride with a driver that they know is intoxicated. (CDC) 8. Texting while driving is banned in 49 US states and territories right now for all drivers, regardless of their age. (Huffington Post) 9. Texting makes a crash up to 23 times more likely to happen compared to driving without texting. (Do Something) 10. 19% of drivers in all age demographics admit to using their mobile data while they are driving, which includes surfing the internet. (Do Something) 11. 77% of teens say that the adults in their lives tell them not to be texting and driving, yet they see those same adults sending texts or an email while they drive. (Do Something) 12. Texting and driving causes a driving experience that is similar to someone driving after they have had 4 beers in an hour. (NHTSA) 13. Texting can increase the risks of a severe crash by as much as 2300% for teen, young adult, and senior drivers. (WIRED) 14. 49% of daily commuters report that they have sent texts while driving, which is a higher rate than is reported by teen drivers at 43%. (AT&T) 15. 1 in 5 drivers in the 18-20 age demographic stated in a recent survey that texting does not have any impact on their driving skills. (NSC) 16. Almost 30% of drivers in the 21-34 age demographic state that texting has no impact on their ability to drive a vehicle. (NSC) 17. Texting while driving is 6 times more likely to cause an automobile accident than drinking and driving. (VTTI) 18. The reaction time of a teen driver who happens to be texting and driving is equal to that of a 70-year-old driver who is not using a cell phone. (University of Utah) 19. When drivers are talking on their cell phone or texting, it becomes more difficult for them to recognize that they have drifted out of their authorized driving lane. (US Government) 20. 49% of drivers who are under the age of 35 report that they either send or read text messages while they are driving. (Harris Interactive) 21. 1 in 5 teen drivers admit that they’ve had an extended conversation over text messaging while they were driving. (US Government) 22. Despite the fact that they know the risks of texting and driving, 98% of adult drivers continue to text anyway after they get behind the wheel. (AT&T) 23. 90% of teens expect to receive a reply to a text that they have sent within 5 minutes, which puts pressure on teen drivers to offer up a response. (AT&T) 24. More than 40% of drivers who admit that they text and drive state that they consider their activities to be a habit. (AT&T) 25. 1 in 5 fatal car accidents that involves teenagers between the ages of 16-19 is a direct result of cell phone use. This statistic is predicted to increase as much as 4% every year. (Psychology Today) If you are a parent, there are a couple of things that you can do to stop yourself, and your teenagers from texting behind the wheel. For your kids, there is something known as a drive cam, which records live video of what is going on in the driver’s seat, and sends you updates. For everybody, there are apps on Android and iOS that block all text messages and all messaging platforms for the duration of the drive. For example, AT&T has a drive mode app which stops all incoming and outgoing text messages while you are behind the wheel. These texting and driving statistics are evidence as to why it is important to put the phone down and keep your eyes on the road. Don’t be the guy that can’t put their cell phone away during a ride. Pic shows: The driver playing with his cell phone on the ground after being knocked down as he waits for an ambulance have gone viral. Credit: UK Daily Mail[/caption www.thunderroadslams.com | December 2017 | Thunder Roads Magazine Louisiana/Mississippi 27