Walking the Walk

By Debbie Hersman

The NTSB applauds the National Parent Teacher Association for its recent resolution calling on drivers to refrain from distracted driving.

Over the past decade, the NTSB has investigated accidents across all modes of transportation where distraction was the cause or a contributing factor in the crash. In December 2011, the Board recommended that states enact laws banning all drivers from all non-emergency use of personal electronic devices such as texting and talking on cellphones. The Board subsequently held an Attentive Driving – Countermeasures to Distraction Forum in March 2012.

Unfortunately, this issue suffers from the “Do as I say, not as I do” syndrome. Despite the fact that 80 percent of drivers see distraction as a danger to their safety, people continue to do it. In the AAA Foundation’s Traffic Safety Culture Index for 2011, more than two in three drivers reported talking on their cell phone while driving in the past month, and one in three drivers said that they did so regularly. Even in the case of texting, which has been considered to be one of the deadliest distractions on the road, 26 percent admitted to having typed an email or a text while driving in the past month, and 35 percent admitted to reading one. This is why the resolution from the NPTA is critical; NPTA is showing that we must lead by example; we must not “talk the talk” but rather, “walk the walk.”

2 thoughts on “Walking the Walk”

  1. Although studies detail that talking on hands free narrows your peripheral vision it is one step away from the need “dictated” by todays immediate response customer service driven business to use them. Hands free devices are so cheap for business and for personal use. In New Zealand it is a law and an instant fine for texting or using a hand held cellphone. Marketing is a strong thing with the must have society keeping up with the Jones’s – must have an apple or a blackberry or go to bed with your Samsung. If it is such a big safety issue in my book the hard line legislation needed for cellphone companies to include safety while driving their advertising. Yes, Steve Joss will be rolling in his grave and all with people their little electronic safety blankets will balk but is your life, your kids life or someone else’s life worth it?

  2. Well said, Martin. And in many jurisdictions here in the U.S., someone texting or using a phone during an accident is presumed to be at fault; so there’s a powerful financial incentive to get the hands-free gear as well.

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