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Cell phones: not worth the distraction

As of May 2012, talking or texting on the phone while driving in Florida is still legal – but it’s not smart!

  • 32,885 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. in 2010 (2.24 million more were injured)
  • Nearly one in four crashes involves cell phone distractions
  • If you’re talking with cell phone in hand or hands-free, you’re four times as likely to crash
  • When texting, you’re between eight and 23 times as likely to crash
  • Studies show most Americans recognize the dangers of cell phone distraction while driving but continue to talk and drive anyway. 

Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other

Maybe we just need better incentive to hang it up for good. In 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a high-visibility enforcement campaign that it’s now planning to take nationwide. The results were significant: 32 percent drop in hand-held phone use and texting in Syracuse, N.Y., and a 57 percent and 72 percent drop, respectively, in hand-held phone use and texting in Hartford, Conn.

Change is happening. Here are some steps you can take to contribute to road safety now:

  • Ask friends and loved ones to call you back if they’re driving
  • Be a good role model for your kids and their friends by making the pledge to drive cell-free
  • Refuse to ride – or allow children to ride – with drivers who continue to talk and drive
  • Update your voice-mail to inform others you’ll call back when it’s safe and to encourage a commitment to focused driving: “I’m away from my phone or currently driving. Leave me a message at the beep.”
  • Contact local law enforcement and cite the NHTSA high-visibility enforcement campaign to encourage your community to get involved
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