Dangerous trend: Alabama ranks high on the list of cellphone use while driving

The dangers of distracted driving, including texting while driving, are well publicized. Unfortunately, too many people refuse to take the warnings seriously. In fact, a National Safety Council survey shows that 47 percent of drivers feel comfortable with their own texting and driving.

To highlight the problem of cellphone/smartphone use and driving, an app called Life360 used their data to determine how often people use their phones in the car. By looking at member data in February and March 2017, they determined that on average, drivers used cellphones 1.78 times each time they drove.

In addition to this overall data, Life360 calculated which states had the highest incidence of cellphone use while driving. Alabama is number three on the list, putting people at increased risk for distracted driving accidents in our state.

Why is it so dangerous to use a cellphone in the car?

When using a cellphone, people take their attention and eyes off of the road and their hands off the wheel. Distraction.gov, a site dedicated to preventing distracted driving, states that at an average of five seconds of texting while driving, a driver going 55 mph can travel 100 yards. That's a lot of ground to cover when drivers aren't paying attention.

Many types of cellphone use can cause distracted driving. In addition to texting, drivers are at risk for accidents while:

  • Talking and dialing
  • Using social media
  • Playing music
  • Taking photos
  • Playing games
  • Using apps

Keeping yourself out of danger

Protect yourself, your family and other drivers and pedestrians by putting down the phone while driving. Leave it in a purse, backpack or pocket so you're not tempted to look at it. Use Bluetooth to take incoming calls if you must answer them right away.

Don't become a statistic. Reduce your own distracted driving and help everyone stay safe.

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