A Step Towards Safer California Roads
There are people who absolutely cannot avoid picking up their phone while driving. This kind of habit is understandable. Mobile phones are addictive. Entertainment and social media are always just within reach. Everything you need to do is made easy with your mobile phone. There are people who can’t live without mobile phones.
For people who have a hard time controlling their use of mobile phones, they know for a fact that they are using them even when they are behind the wheel. Even those who are not mobile phone addicts, it is a challenge to shut off all distractions when driving. When on the way to work, there are emails that are very difficult to ignore. If you are waiting for an urgent text message, it would take self-control not to read it while driving the moment the notification pops out.
There are zero excuses to use your mobile phone when driving. No matter what the reason is, it can cause accidents and collisions. Taking your eyes off from the road even for a few seconds can bring grave consequences. What’s worse is when you take your hands off the wheel to answer an SMS. Hands-free devices such as Bluetooth enabled devices and hands-free headphones are available in the market catering to the needs of drivers. However, even these devices are not recommended because it can take your concentration off the road. Even if your eyes are focused on what’s in front of you and your hands are behind the wheel, your mind might be someplace else.
There is a constant petition by families of the distracted driving accidents victims to come up with laws that give harsh punishments to who use their mobile phones behind the wheel. The recent move of the state of California to give stricter punishments to those caught using their mobile phones has got everyone rejoicing because it would mean safer roads for all commuters.
California has proposed the bill called The Assembly Bill 47 that will punish all distracted driving-related offense. They are campaigning to avoid driving while “intoxicated”. When you are caught picking up your phone or just basically distracted because of your device, a point will immediately be added to your driving record. These points can take a hit, especially when it comes to licensing renewal. Accumulated violation points can possibly result in your license revocation.
Under Assembly Bill 47, the first violation will add a point to your driving record plus a 20 dollar fine. The second violation would have a bigger fine and so on. According to studies, the age group most likely to violate this bill belongs to the 25-39 years of age. It’s surprising that they do not expect teenagers to violate this law. The 25-39 age group is composed mainly of employees, parents, and businessmen. They are the ones who usually juggle work, family and social life. They are known to send at least 50 texts a day.
The aim of this bill is to have safer roads for all drivers and passengers. It should not be viewed as something negative. It should be taken as a challenge especially for those who simply cannot stop using their phones even when driving. The proponents of the bill are passionate about harsher punishments because of the reason that distracted driving is as dangerous as drunk driving. Drunk driving has grave punishments set in place. There are studies that texting while driving is the leading cause of accidents on the road these days. One out of five drivers texts even if they’re behind the wheel and 34 percent of drivers admit that they do text. Everyone knows that you shouldn’t drive when you’ve consumed alcohol, but no one takes “intexticated” as seriously.
If you are one of these drivers who want to break this dangerous and illegal habit, here are some tips that can help you follow this bill easily, and of course drive safer every day
Put your phone on silent mode or keep in away from reach
They say out of sight is out of mind right? If you do not see your phone anywhere near you while driving, you would forget about it. It might, however, call your attention the moment it makes a sound so best if you can put your phone on silent mode to avoid distraction with any notification.
The moment you step on your vehicle, place your phone inside your bag. There are some who would go to the extent of putting it inside the compartment. If you absolutely cannot help it, put your phone in the trunk. It is not recommended however that you leave your smartphone in the house as you might need your phone for emergencies.
There are those who would need navigation apps, especially when traveling to a new place. If this is the case, you need to mount your phone on your dashboard. Before starting your engine and leaving your starting point, input the data needed to reach your destination. Make sure it is up and ready so you do not need to touch your phone during your transit.
In instances wherein you absolutely need to use your phone like in situations such as emergencies, stop over to the nearest safe place to call or text. It will not take you a long time to find a stopping point, could be a gas station or a vehicle bay. See to it that you are properly parked and in a complete stop before picking up your device.
Use the help of safe driving apps
Developers are coming up with innovative mobile phone apps that help you enjoy your smartphone and put it into good use. There are hundreds of cool and brilliant apps that will help you have a safe drive, some of which is to ensure that you do not use your phone while you’re driving. There are apps that will allow you never to miss out even when on the road, especially if you’re the type who is always afraid of not being able to answer back to an SMS. There are apps that will send an auto reply that you are driving and would answer back immediately when you reach your destination. There are also apps that would read out an SMS message for you so you won’t need to glance at your phone.
If you are a parent, you need to lead by example and let your child see how you do not use your mobile phone whenever you are behind the wheel. You need to always emphasize to your child that choosing not to text can save lives. There are apps who can also help ease the worries of parents especially if they have children who have started driving. You can utilize an app that will disable all outgoing and incoming texts messages the moment the car is in motion, which is best for teens. There are family apps that would alert family members within your driving circle the moment one uses their phone while driving. They can also provide driving safety stats for the parents. Moreover, there are apps that will let your family circle know your current location and the moment you’ve reached your destination. You do not need to constantly send an SMS message to your loved ones anymore just to let them know where you are as an app will do this for you.
Commit and Make it a Way of Life
The dangers of using your mobile should not be taken lightly. If you are not fully convinced about how a 3 letter SMS can be dangerous, take time to brush up on news and articles about accidents caused by “intexticated” drivers. Make yourself aware of the consequences and commit to never texting while on the road again. Take to mind and heart the risks of texting and how it can take your life and others in a matter of seconds. Be proactive in talking to friends and family about this way of life and encourage them to do the same. If you know a driver who texts all the time, talk to them and inform them about what you know. Conduct an intervention and help them break this bad habit.
When at work and out on the field, let your workmates know how serious with this commitment and inform them that if you are not able to attend to work right away, it is because you are on the road. If you are unable to respond to a work email immediately, let them know that work is important but so is road safety and following the law. Stopover and work at a coffee shop nearest you if you absolutely need to respond to a work-related concern.
If you have passengers, set a good example by turning off your mobile phone before you leave. You may also assign your passenger to be your designated texter who can answer a message for you while you drive.