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Don’t Be Dumb With Your Smartphone: Keep It in Your Pocket While Driving

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When a spotlight was put on the risks of distracted driving, especially texting while driving, many people tried to find “inner loopholes” to justify risky phone use while behind the wheel. “What is an inner loophole?” you might ask. It’s that justification you make in your mind about a risky action that quiets the inner voice nagging you about the risk.

A prime example is someone who emails on their smartphone while driving. This person may try to justify their action by saying to themselves with the thought, “Well, I’m not actually texting anyone.” Nice try, but this inner loophole is simply adopting ignorance as bliss. The simple fact is that if a driver of engages in an activity that takes attention away from the primary task of driving, then that person is engaged in distracted driving. If you think, “Hey, it’s really not that dangerous,” think again. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, roughly 20 percent of car crash injuries reported in 2009 involved a distracted driver.

The three main types of driving distractions are

  • Cognitive – taking your mind off the task of driving
  • Manual – taking your hands off the wheel
  • Visual – taking your eyes off the road

Depending upon the distraction of choice, whether it be talking on a cell phone, typing in directions on your GPS, or simply eating , one or more of the distractions mentioned above are in play.

Let’s go back to the smartphone example. You send off multiple emails on your phone thinking you’re a multitasking phenom, but you don’t even realize that while they are looking at, manipulating and concentrating on the smartphone, they are four times as likely to get into a serious car crash, accoridng to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

So don’t be dumb with your smartphone, or any phone, for that matter. Keep it in your pocket while you are driving. Keep your eyes on the road at all times and remember that commuting to work is not a time to try and get work done; it is the task of getting from point A to point B.

To learn more, check out our law firm’s free consumer report on distracted driving.

PA

About the Editors: The Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, which has offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono services.