Using Smartphones While Driving – You Might as Well Be Drunk!

February 23, 2012 at 5:54 PM Leave a comment

New studies have shown that when you use your phone while driving, you reduce your reaction time to that of a 70 year old, and your driving abilities are on par with that of a drunk driver. Yet, many of us tend to use our smart phones while driving, effectively adding ‘high risk’ to our lives and that of our children.

Recent research conducted here in Australia by Lifewise.org.au shows that despite over two thirds (69%) of parents saying that they take less risks since becoming a parent, 58% of parents still admit to having used their mobile phone while driving.

The problem is that distracted drivers cause up to 80% of all accidents on the road, a large proportion of which are drivers using wireless devices such as smartphones. Those risks increase even more when you have children in the car, who are also a cause of “driving while distracted” (DWD).

According to a study released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) , 80% of crashes and 65% of near-crashes involve some form of driver distraction. In most cases, the distraction occurred within three seconds before the vehicle crash. (source: dmv.ca.gov)

In the US alone, distracted drivers are responsible for upwards to 6 000 deaths and 450 000 accidents involving injury every year. Twenty-five percent of all Americans report that they use their mobile phones ‘regularly’ or ‘fairly often’ while driving. The percentage is even higher among 18 to 29 year olds, with 40% reporting that they use their mobile phones ‘regularly’ or ‘fairly often’, and 25% reporting that they text while driving, although the figures may actually be higher.

In response to this growing trend of dangerous mobile and smart phone use in our lives and on the road, the ‘Moodoff Day’ campaign has been called into life.

“With more and more people around the country acknowledging the impact their ‘smartphone addiction’ has on their driving safety, the Australian initiative ‘MoodOff Day’ aims to remind us to actually be present not only while driving, but also with those in our lives”, said founder Tapas Senapati.

With the ‘Moodoff Day’ campaign already receiving media interest around Australia and as far as the US and the UK, support has been pouring in from over a dozen countries including the UK, Germany, Netherlands, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Singapore and the US.

On February 26th we are asked to refrain from using our smart phones for 5 hours in an attempt to raise awareness of the extent these gadgets impact our lives and to create more balance.

The ‘Mood Off Day’ campaign on February 26th asks smartphone and mobile device addicts (and those that don’t yet consider themselves such) to spend a morning without their beloved devices.

This Sunday, from 5am – 10am we are asked to ignore our smartphone devices and simply be present with our family members, friends and colleagues. That means no early-morning texting, emailing, web surfing or getting facebook and twitter updates. Meanwhile, activities such as spending time with the family, reading the paper, or going for a walk and meeting your neighbours are encouraged as healthy alternatives.

If you feel you could benefit from a morning without smartphones and mobile devices and want to encourage others to follow suit, go to www.MoodOffDay.org and pledge your support. You can even post your personal experiences of how smartphone addiction has had a negative impact in your life at www.facebook.com/MoodOffDay.

To get involved and spread the word about ‘Mood Off Day’ on 26th February from 5am – 10am, log onto www.MoodOffDay.org.

 

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