Texting and Driving: Today's Deadliest Distraction

In the early 80’s, drinking and driving became illegal. Impaired driving has been in the fore front ever since. Forty years later, texting and driving has become the deadliest distraction on the road since the days of “one for the road.”

The technology in smartphones came about faster than our common sense could keep up with. Society experienced a collective realization of what the down side to the convenience of these handheld computers were when the term “impaired” took on a whole new meaning. It’s clear that texting and driving put everyone on the road in danger. Texting while driving will put you in an impaired state. That impaired state can lead to accidents and these accidents can change lives forever.

What causes us to do what we know is wrong and illegal?

The inability to delay gratification can be blamed for a lot of texting while driving, also putting the youngest drivers at risk for this behaviour. A study conducted by Public Health Ontario found that although more than 90% of youth know that texting while driving is illegal, they simply feel they can’t help themselves. They feel guilt even while responding to texts while driving, yet still do it. The study found that 55% of youth surveyed admitted to reading texts while driving and 45% have responded to texts while behind the wheel.

Due to the young nature of those most likely to text and drive, a lack of organic respect for human life can be sighted as a reason for the reckless behaviour of texting while driving. With no real sense of their own mortality, their underdeveloped brains are not capable of linking their behaviour with the perceived risks. It’s the very reason teenagers engage in all kinds of potentially harmful activities and therefore are at a high risk for all kinds of danger, including texting and driving.

New distracted driving laws

Ontario’s distracted driving laws have recently been changed and fines now include demerit points. With these new fines, the government is recognizing that texting and driving will make a driver as impaired as alcohol can. The deterrent is now there. Only time will tell if this new fine structure will do anything to decrease the use of handheld devices while operating a motor vehicle.

Put it out of reach

If you have found yourself texting and driving and want to stop, consider putting your cell phone in the glove box when your drive. Or in the back seat where it can’t be reached. The temptation to text and drive will stay a temptation and a life might be saved.

When we all know better, we do better. It is the hope among those whose have already been affected by the practice of texting driving that through education, advertising, and a firm deterrent, more lives won’t have to be lost in order for us to learn this lesson.

Check out more tips to keep yourself safe in our Blog section.