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Public safety announcements. Television, radio and print advertising. State laws prohibiting texting and/or cellphone usage while driving. Broadcast media coverage of 'distracted driving' crashes... communities in mourning.
Despite all of the efforts of federal, state and local government; safety organizations, schools and insurance companies, etc., new NHTSA research data shows that at any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010.
Are we that self-absorbed? NHTSA data says "Yes, we are."
Do we think what we have to say is really that important? That it must be communicated now? NHTSA data again says "Yes, in fact, we do." Will we ever learn before it's too late? Charles Darwin proved that some of us are simply unfit for the task.
When we know we're doing something that could be harmful, even fatal, and we continue to do it, what does that say about us as a society? We continue to ignore the multitude of warnings that cellphones and texting causes our own driving to deteriorate and can lead to crashes, injuries and even death. And then we weep at the gravesite? It's a fool's parade.
We choose to make that one phone call as we entertain the delusion that 'I'll be careful' or 'I can do this and still drive safely' and if we're the parents in the vehicle, what kind of example are we setting for our kids? I can do this safely... but you shouldn't try because somebody could get hurt?
Here's the irony of it all...
According to NHTSA's 2012 National Survey on Distracted Driving Attitudes and Behaviors, most drivers support bans on hand-held cell phone use (74 percent) and texting while driving (94 percent). On average, these drivers thought the fines for these offenses should be at least $200.
So far 39 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers. Also 10 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using handheld cell phones while driving.
"Many drivers see distracted driving as risky when other drivers do it, but do not recognize how their own driving deteriorates," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.
A sad statement, to say the least.