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Tech Solutions to Prevent Texting & Other Distracted Driving

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There’s no getting around it: Texting while driving is dangerous, often deadly.

But with our constant need to check email and respond to messages, it’s also a hard habit to kick. Many of us are like Pavlov’s dogs when we hear that ping indicating we have a new message. We’re conditioned to look. And when we do, we take our eyes off the road.

That kind of distraction, even for just a second, can lead to an accident when you’re driving a car.

According to the National Safety Council, 3,000 people die in distracted driving crashes every year. Yet, 70 percent of drivers admit to using their phones while driving despite knowing the risk.

There are options to help limit your phone usage while driving:

  • If you have an iPhone and you’ve upgraded to the iOS 11 operating system, you can activate the Do Not Disturb While Driving feature to turn off texting and other distracting apps while you’re behind the wheel.

When the feature is enabled, the phone will prevent notifications when it connects to your car via Bluetooth or when it senses driving motion. Here’s how to set up the feature, according to Apple:

Go to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls.
Tap Add control to Control Center next to Do Not Disturb While Driving.

While Do Not Disturb while Driving is activated, you will be able to use map and navigation apps, although you won’t be able to input a destination while in motion. Passengers who want to use their iPhone in the car can disable the feature by indicating you’re not driving.

  • If you have a teen driver, you can set up a restriction that prevents them from turning off the Do Not Disturb While Driving feature. Here’s how to do it:

On your child’s iPhone, go to Settings > General > Restrictions.

If you haven’t used Restrictions before, enter a new passcode. Remember this passcode for any future changes.

Under Allow Changes, tap Do Not Disturb While Driving.

Select Don’t Allow Changes.

  • You can also take a low-tech approach to distracted driving by turning off your phone when you get in the car or even putting it in the trunk. However, that can be problematic if you use your phone for navigation or if you need it to make an emergency call.
  • You can also sign a pledge to be an attentive driver and follow this checklist from End Distracted Driving whenever you get behind the wheel.
  1. Drive without reading or sending texts, snapchatting, using the internet, Facebook or social media of any kind.
  2. Call/text before I start driving to let parents, friends and others know when I’ll arrive.
  3. Wait to text or call others until they have stopped driving.
  4. Pull over to a safe location to check texts, social media, or listen to voice mail.
  5. Deputize my passenger when I am driving to text or make calls for me.
  6. When alone, turn my cell phone off before starting to drive.
  7. Stop texting, or end phone conversations with others once I learn they are driving.
  8. Pull over to a safe location or wait until I am finished driving to eat or apply make-up.
  9. Pull over to a safe location or wait until I am finished driving to adjust music on a phone or similar devices.
  10. When being driven by a distracted driver ask the driver to drive safer.
  11. As a passenger, share the responsibility for arriving safely with my driver and offer help so my driver does not drive distracted.

You can download a printable version of this checklist from End Distracted Driving

Car and phone manufacturers are recognizing the danger of distracted driving, including texting while driving, and they’re developing technology to block the practice. According to CNN, Nissan has proposed adding built-in boxes to its cars to that would block radio transmissions of any kind from reaching phones.

Technology to prevent texting while driving does exist. USA Today reviewed the best apps to prevent distracted driving, including one that lets you earn points you can cash in at the gas station and other retailers.

 

 

Penalties for Texting While Driving

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A 13-month-old North Carolina girl was killed in a Christmas day car wreck that police originally thought was caused by texting and driving.

Originally, police in Wadesboro charged the girl’s father with texting and driving, alleging he sent a text message saying “Merry Christmas” just moments before the crash that killed his daughter and seriously injured his wife and two others.

Later, the police investigation revealed the father did not send a text message, though he did receive one near the time of the crash. There’s no evidence he looked at the message while driving.

When news of the charges first broke, many people took to social media and said the police were too harsh in charging the grieving father in the accident that took his daughter’s life.

We want to know what you think about the legal consequences and penalties for texting while driving.

Scientific students — and countless fatal accidents — have proven that texting (and even talking on the phone) distracts drivers’ attention. In fact, some studies show texting while driving is as dangerous as drinking while driving.

North Carolina is one of 41 states (and the District of Columbia) with laws against texting while driving.

Depending on the state and the severity of the infraction, the penalties for texting while driving range from a ticket or fine to jail time.

  • Monetary fines- these can range from as low as $20 up to $500 depending on the state
  • Criminal charges- in some states texting while driving can result in criminal misdemeanor charges (Class B or C)
  • Jail or prison time- if the offense has resulted in bodily injury to another driver, jail or prison time may be imposed

Source: LegalMatch

In N.C. you can be fined from $25 to $100 for texting while driving, depending on your age. Bus drivers who are caught texting while driving face a $100 fine and a Class 2 misdemeanor charge. However, you won’t get points on your license or face increased insurance premiums for texting while driving violations.

Given the serious danger texting while driving presents to motorists and those who share the roads with them, do you think the penalties for texting while driving are severe enough?

Should penalties for texting while driving match those for driving under the influence?

In N.C., DUI penalities are much stricter and include loss of driving privileges, fines ranging from $200 to $10,000, jail time and substance abuse assessment and treatment.

 

End distracted driving — turn off your phone

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Texting while driving is dangerous. Deadly even.

We’d like to encourage all drivers to participate in Two-Second Turnoff today — and every day after — every time you get behind the wheel of a car.

Two-Second Turnoff Day is a joint campaign by Seventeen magazine, the U.S. Department of Transportation and AAA aimed at getting drivers to turn off their phones every time they get behind the wheel.

The majority of teen drivers recognize that texting and talking on the phone while driving is dangerous, according to research by Seventeen. But the majority of them still text while driving. We’re better that many adults are also guilty of distracted driving, even though they know the risks.

Two seconds is all it takes to save a life — or to destroy it:

Taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your risk for a crash. But it also takes just two seconds to shut down your phone—and prevent an accident.

Make it a habit to turn off your phone whenever you get in the car, so you can focus your attention on the road and on getting to your destination safely.

Participate in Two-Second Turnoff Day — today, tomorrow and everyday.

We also have to share this silly — but catchy — rap from an Augusta, Ga., teenager who won Seventeen’s Two-Second Turnoff video contest. “Eyes on the road, hands on 10 and 2. Not gonna get the text about what happened last night with Billy at the drive-in… Get to where you’re going, then text back…”

 

 

 

Texting While Driving Has Deadly Consequences

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North Carolina has banned texting while driving, but have you?

We understand how tempting it is to reach for your phone when you hear a beep alerting you that a new text message or email has arrived. You’ll just take a quick peek. You’ll barely take your eyes off the road. And besides, you’re a careful driver.

But a few seconds are all it takes to end your life or someone else’s.

As the New York Times reports:

Studies suggest that drivers who send or receive a text message tend to take their eyes off the road for about five seconds, enough time for a vehicle going at highway speed to travel more than 100 yards. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that truckers sending text messages are 23 times more likely to cause a crash or near-crash than a nontexting trucker.

Is any email or text message that important? Are you willing to risk your life or someone else’s to read a message or send it?

The sad fact is that for millions of drivers every day, the answer is yes. When you’re out driving today, take a look around. We bet you’ll see someone fiddling with a cell phone when their eyes should be on the road.

Despite state laws banning the practice and the efforts of awareness campaigns, texting and other forms of distracted driving are an epidemic in this country. We’ve become addicted to technology and connectedness, and we’re sacrificing our safety and others because of it.

How do we get the message across that texting while driving is unsafe? The statistics certainly back up that claim. The Huffington Post reports:

According to the Harvard Center of Risk Analysis, cell phone use contributes to 6 percent of all crashes, which equates to 636,000 crashes, 330,000 injuries, and 2600 deaths each year.

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